The Azalea Festival is a spring tradition in Wilmington that locals and tourists get to enjoy each year. Typically, the festival lasts for a week and is full of local vendors, shows, street food, fireworks, parades and concerts. Unfortunately, the festival was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This year, as more people get the vaccine and things start to look up, the festival is a go! But with a twist. Here are some of the changes to the Azalea Festival in 2021.

New Programs

This year, the festival has decided to implement some virtual events. One of these events was a virtual Minecraft Creation Competition partnered with the UNCW eSports Department. Last week, the festival hosted the Azalea Sun Run, which was their first virtual 5k sponsored by Harris Teeter. In addition to these virtual programs, the Azalea Festival has also implemented a new website, new e-news letter and a TikTok account. 

For in-person programs, the festival hosted a reverse parade. Over 40 businesses and homes downtown decorated their windows and porches and participants drove through a “parade route.” This was a great parade alternative to avoid gathering large crowds. Additionally, the Queen’s Coronation, which is focused this year on “A Journey of 74 Socially Distant Waves,” was changed to numerous stops throughout the community this year instead of a 400 person event.

In-Person Events

Some of the main events have been pushed back to July and August to avoid attracting large crowds. For example, the annual Airlie Launch Garden Party will now be held in July. Additionally, from August 19th through August 21st, the Azalea Festival will welcome Sublime with Rome and the Avett Brothers to the new North Waterfront Park.

Also in August will be a 3 day DGX street fair, Wilmington Grill Music and Beer Stage, the Dollar General Parade, the Children’s Area and the Multicultural Area at the Street Fair.

We are so happy that the Azalea Festival is back this year, even if it does look a little different. This festival is one that is near and dear to many. It is sure to lift the spirits of Wilmington natives and tourists this spring and summer. We look forward to the events of the Azalea Festival in 2021! You can check out our their website for more information on the festival, and you can find more information about other things happening in Wilmington on our blog