North Carolina Azalea Festival
EST. 1948 Wilmington
Southern Bells and Tea Parties are just the beginning of the week-long Azalea Festival. This is one of the most popular area festivals held in historic downtown Wilmington. This year’s festival will be held April 3rd – April 7th. The Southeast Tourism Society ranks this event among the top 20 events held in the region. Step back in time and enjoy a garden tea party complete with Southern Bells dressed in period regalia. The beautiful gardens of mansions like The Bellamy Mansion will be in full bloom with azaleas of all colors blooming throughout the entire area.
Downtown Wilmington has a beautifully preserved historic district with brick paved streets and horse drawn carriage rides. Located on the Cape Fear River the area boasts a 230-block National Register Historic District and during the festival several of the historic homes offer tours. Hop aboard Springbrook Farms’ guided carriage tour led by rescued horses and a costumed carriage driver hearing the stories behind Wilmington’s stately mansions. Stroll along the Historic River Walk and dine at a variety of unique restaurants. Drive just across the Cape Fear River and tour the Battleship North Carolina a favorite for the kids. You can also tour the area from the water. Grab a tasty cocktail or drink from the bar and enjoy live acoustic music as you cruise down the Cape Fear River on a Wilmington Water Tours Sunset Cruise while hearing stories of the area’s rich history featuring pirates, blockade runners and the river’s importance to the history and future.
Live entertainment is offered all weekend with concerts each evening. Saturday features the Azalea Festival Parade as well as the Juried Art Show and Sale with offerings from local craftsman.
While you are in town you can also visit Carolina and Kure Beaches as well as the Historic Ft. Fisher Museum located between the ocean and river. The museum features reflects and preserved the preserved grounds of the last Southern strong hold of the Civil War.
While in Ft. Fisher visit the North Carolina Aquarium which showcases local marine and low country wildlife. The aquarium always has new exhibits yearly such as The Butterfly House and this year the Lorikeet House where the family can hand feel the butterflies and birds. If you like to explore you can hike one of the many nature trails and get up close and personal with area wildlife.
With so much history and fun family entertainment readers of Southern Living Magazine voted Wilmington one of the “South’s Best Cities”.