April 12-16, 2023



Fun Facts Looking back… 1980-1989


The Clyde Beatty/Cole Bros. circus joins the festival lineup for the first time. Dionne Warwick and Pete Fountain provide the music.


Festival headliner Bob Hope visits the festival while Days of Our Lives stars Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes attend and begin a long association with Wilmington.


Hometown hero Michael Jordan, assist in crowing the Azalea Queen Lynda Goodfriend (from Happy Days). The Four Tops do not fail to entertain.


Andy Williams and the Gatlin Brothers take the main stage.  While a young no-name George Strait wins the Variety Show. 


Johnny Mathis and Barbara Mandrell sell out Trask Coliseum.


Phylicia Rashad reigns as the first African-American Azalea queen. The entertainment includes Rich Little, Donny, and Marie Osmond, Crystal Gayle, Porter Wagoner, and Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.


B.B. King plays and entertains at Brogden Hall. Kim Zimmer from The Guiding Light is queen.  Other celebrates in attendance were Wayne Newton, Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie, spends the whole weekend in a Western-style fringed outfit after her luggage disappears en route.


Queen Robin Greer of Falcon Crest comes with her co-star Lorenzo Lamas. The Beach Boys and Johnny Mathis play Trask Coliseum, while the guest list includes country star Little Jimmy Dickens, Tony Dow (“Wally” from Leave It To Beaver) and boxing champ James “Bonecrusher” Smith. The street fair takes on an Elizabethan theme with the arrival of the replica sailing ship Elizabeth II.


Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka, and Bobby Bare are musical highlights.

1989Julie McCullough is disinvited as Azalea queen after her past as a Playmate of the Month is exposed. Her replacement is Rebeca Arthur of TV’s Perfect Strangers, who carries her toy poodle in her purse wherever she goes. Musical highlights are Hall & Oates, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Nashville singer Lorrie Morgan.

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