April 12-16, 2023



North Carolina Azalea Festival Announces Emeritus Program Honoring its Volunteers

North Carolina Azalea Festival Announces Emeritus Program Honoring its Volunteers

WILMINGTON, NC – The North Carolina Azalea Festival is honored to unveil its newest programming, which pays tribute to the countless years of service many Festival volunteers have given to the Azalea Festival.  The new North Carolina Azalea Festival Emeritus Program honors Azalea Festival volunteers who have served as a Festival Chair or Co-Chair for over ten years.

The Emeritus Program has two levels of distinction – Emeritus Chair, for those serving at least ten years, and the Emeritus Gold Chair, for those serving twenty years or more.  The unveiling of this new program is a direct tie to part of the mission of the North Carolina Azalea Festival – which is to promote volunteerism and civic participation in our community.

Emeritus Program recipients will receive invitations to special Festival volunteer events, a commemorative lapel pin signifying their status, a Festival gift, and access to tickets to the Azalea Festival’s signature event, the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party.

The Festival plans to have a new class of Emeritus Chairs inaugurated each year.

The 2017 Emeritus Program Recipients are as Follows:

Edwina Batson
Ted Davis, Jr.
Douglas F. DeGroote
Susan M. DeGroote

Emeritus Gold:
Susan Crowell
Sandy Cyphers
J.W. “Willie” Dalrymple
Jane Davis
Billy W. Ezzell
Gloria C. Ezzell
Larry Knowles
George Lancaster
Eddie Lawler
Hugh F. McManus, III
Donna Robbins
Sandee Murray Spradley
Leslie A. Yarborough

Azalea Festival President, Jean Lawler (a Festival volunteer for 57 years herself), states, “ The Festival is so excited to introduce this new program honoring some of our longest-serving volunteers.  I have served alongside all of these dedicated volunteers, and enough cannot be said of their motivation, their passion, and their love for the Azalea Festival and for the Wilmington community.  Festival volunteers are some of the best in the nation – which is evident as we celebrate 70 years of Azalea Festivals – our volunteers are what led us here.  It is our priviledge to welcome in our inaugural class of the Emeritus Program.”

The 2017 Emeritus Program recipients were honored in a pinning ceremony April 3, 2017.


About the North Carolina Azalea Festival

Since its inception in 1948, the North Carolina Azalea Festival has blossomed into an extended weekend celebration that attracts more than 300,000 people and generates more than $51 million for the local economy. The Festival showcases our community’s rich array of artwork, gardens, history and culture through recreational, educational and family-oriented events.

For more information on the upcoming 70th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, visit www.ncazaleafestival.org or contact Executive Director Alison Baringer at alison@ncazaleafestival.org or (910) 216-9400.

The North Carolina Azalea Festival Thanks Its Sponsors

Miller Lite
Hilton Wilmington Riverside
Wells Fargo
Duke Energy
LM Restaurants
Wilmington Convention Center
Bud Light
Hawthorne Residential Partners
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
UNC Wilmington
Coastal Children’s Services
Lowes Foods
Piedmont Natural Gas
Wilmington Health
Bimbo Bakeries
BlueCross and BlueShield of NC
Chart Local
MassMutual Financial Group
North Carolina Ports
Parkway of Wilmington
Party Reflections
Port City Java
Wilmington Grill
RV Transportation Provided by Rex and Sons RV’s

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