04/07/2021 - 10:30am to 04/11/2021 - 11:30pmGet Directions
In the Wilmington area, we know spring has officially begun with the arrival of the annual North Carolina Azalea Festival. A true celebration of everything that makes our area special, the festival brings live music, garden parties, a street fair, a parade, and more to this bustling town for a long weekend of sun and fun.
What started as a way to celebrate the blooming azaleas in 1948 has become an event that draws huge crowds and nationally-recognized celebrities. The festival got its roots when local doctor, Houston Moore, decided to revamp Greenfield Lake and turn it into a public park. After years of planning, Greenfield Lake was transformed into a beautiful new local hotspot, and Dr. Moore was inspired to honor the flowers and springtime in Wilmington with a festival. Thus, the annual North Carolina Azalea Festival was born and began drawing attention from tens of thousands of spectators, including our first celebrity Queen Azalea, Jaqueline White.
2021 North Carolina Azalea Festival Schedule
- The traditional start to every Azalea Fest is the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party. Break out your best sun hat and seersucker bowtie and head out to Airlie Gardens on April 9 for refreshments and socializing.
- From April 9-11, make sure to take The Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour! See the best of Wilmington’s spring blooms on this tour- tickets are $25 and good for all three days! After going on the garden tour, be sure to check out the Street Fair where you can find local art, jewelry, face painting, photography, clothing, and amazing fair food. The Street Fair happens all three days, but you may not catch the same vendor twice!
- See the coronation of Queen Azalea on April 7 at 3 pm at Greenfield Lake Amphiteatre.
- Weekend musical performances from Sublime with Rome, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Avett Brothers, and more!
- Don’t forget to end your Saturday, April 10 with free fireworks over the Cape Fear River at 9 pm.
Book Your North Carolina Azalea Festival Accommodations
If you plan to attend the Azalea Festival this spring, why not make it a vacation? Come home to the sound of waves crashing on the shore after a long day shopping the street fair and viewing the beautiful blooms in our local gardens. It’s only a 15-minute drive from Wrightsville Beach to downtown Wilmington and 5 minutes to Airlie Gardens. From Carolina Beach to downtown is only 20 minutes!