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North Carolina Azalea Festival 2022 Details & Full Schedule

Plan your trip to North Carolina Azalea Festival 2022 (April 6 to 10). There will be music by Brantley Gilbert, REO Speedwagon, and Cypress Hill.

This festival takes place in Wilmington, NC.

A sign for the Azalea Festival on a lightpost in Wilmington, NC with the words "7 Reasons To Visit The North Carolina Azalea Festival" digitally written on top.

We’re gearing up for the North Carolina Azalea Festival 2022, which means it’s time to start planning your trip. The festival is always in April, going back and forth between the first two weekends of the month (usually). This year, the North Carolina Azalea Festival is April 6 to 10, 2022.

We’ve gone every year since we moved to North Carolina, since the festival is about five minutes from our home. It actually takes us longer to find parking than it does to get to Wilmington, NC, the hometown of the Azalea Fest.

It’s not all about azaleas. In fact, depending on how the weather is, you may not even see any azaleas. But the flowers are only part of the reason to attend the festival.

The Battleship North Carolina on the Cape Fear River with the words "Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide From A Local" digitally written on top.

If you’re coming to the area for the Azalea Festival, there are so many things to do in town to make it a great trip.

Find other things to do in Wilmington, NC in our Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide.

North Carolina Azalea Festival: Frequently Asked Questions

Before we get into the reasons to attend, let’s get a couple frequently asked questions out of the way.

What are the dates for the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina?

The Azalea Festival 2022 is taking place April 6 to 10, 2022.

Who is playing Azalea Fest 2022?

Brantley Gilbert, REO Speedwagon, Cypress Hill, and Girl Named Tom.

Where is the North Carolina Azalea Festival held?

The North Carolina Azalea Festival is held in downtown Wilmington, NC. The majority of the 2022 festival will be held in the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center lot with the concerts being held at the Live Oak Pavilion.

There are a few other events at other venues throughout Wilmington.

Who is the Azalea Queen this year?

The 2022 Azalea Queen is former Miss America Nia Imani Franklin.

7 Reasons To Visit The North Carolina Azalea Festival

Affiliate links are included in this post and Drugstore Divas may make a small commission if you use them.

Food at a street fair.

The Food

My favorite reason for going to the Azalea Fest is to get a corn dog. I tend to limit my corn dog consumption to street fairs in Wilmington and rest stops on long road trips. Other than that, I don’t eat them. So I wait for the North Carolina Azalea Festival every year because I know there’s a corn dog in my future.

That’s not the only food available, though.

Each year, there are food vendors selling ribbon fries, gyros, sausage and pepper sandwiches, snow cones, deep fried cookies and candy bars, soda, ice cream, and more. It’s all your favorite street fair food.

If you don’t want something deep fried, you can always head to one of Downtown Wilmington’s local restaurants and bars for a bite to eat.

Vendor tents at a street fair.

The Street Fair

A ton of food and vendor tents make up the North Carolina Azalea Festival’s Street Fair. There are some salesy vendors — like the local newspapers and banks — but there are also artists. It’s amazing to see the creations they can make. I’m crafty, but these people are on another level.

Every year, I end up walking away with something special and unique. A few years ago, it was a hand painted sign for my aunt’s beach house. A few years after that it was a watercolor print for our bathroom.

One year I saw — but didn’t buy — painted cranes that sway in the wind. Every year I hope the artist will be back, but so far, no luck. That’s why you need to buy things when you see them. You may never see them again.

This year, the Azalea Festival street fair is actually moving from its usual location due to construction. Instead of being held on Water and Front Streets, where it has been since before we even moved here, it’ll be in the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center lot, which is where the festival used to set its concert main stage.

Locals have griped that it’ll be more of a “parking lot fair” than a “street fair” and that this will take away foot traffic from the downtown businesses that generally benefit from a street fair being right outside their property. But, it will be better for traffic since two main roads don’t have to be closed down.

The Home Tour

So, I’ll be honest. The Home Tour is a huge part of the North Carolina Azalea Festival, but I’ve never done it. Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Home Tour is kind of out of my price range.

See, one year, we parked directly in front of one of the homes on the Home Tour. I was with Pete and his friend, and I told them we should check out the home since fate left a parking spot right there for us. We went up the steps to the women sitting at the table, selling tickets. “It’s $30,” she told us. “To see this home?” I asked. It was $30 to see ten houses. I tried to offer her $3 each just to see this home, but it didn’t work that way, so we left.

For 2022, tickets for the home tour are actually $40 and there are 11 homes you can tour on the Saturday and Sunday of Azalea Fest.

With your ticket, you can get a free ice cream from Boombalatti’s ice cream truck, Sprinkles (while supplies last, on Saturday only). It’ll be set up in the parking lot of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (16 North 16th Street). St. Paul’s is actually one of the “homes” you can tour with your ticket.

Music stage.

The Music

Each night of the “main” three-day festival features a headlining band on the main stage. It actually is always a good mix. It seems each year there’s one country artist, one old school rock band, and one rapper. This year, the festival features Brantley Gilbert, REO Speedwagon, and Cypress Hill on April 7 to 9, respectively. Those shows will be held at the recently constructed Live Oak Pavilion.

We had tickets for Ice Cube a couple years ago, which was fun, but you don’t need to shell out money for a big ticket to enjoy some tunes.

The Tunes & Blooms Music Festival will be held on Saturday, April 9 at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater and is free to the public. Drinks will be available for purchase there.

The music festival kicks off at noon with the 2022 UNCW Battle of the Bands Winner: Free Drinks (which is the name of the band; again, drinks will be available for purchase). There will also be music from local bands Delia and Friends, Just Yesterday, Brown Dirt Cowboys with Bethany Manning, Hatch Brothers, and Signal Fire.

Azalea Festival Parade

So, I’m gonna be honest with this one: The Azalea Festival Parade gets crowded. We went a few years ago for the first time, and parking was crazy. So many people get there for the parade, then leave after, so if you skip the parade you have a better chance of finding parking.

The Azalea Festival parade is Saturday, April 9 and it starts at 9:30 am. The route is 3rd Street from Market Street to Bladen Street. You can bring your own chair and set it up on the sidewalk to watch the parade. Reserved festival bleacher tickets are available for purchase for $5 to $8 in advance and $7 to $10 on the day of.

If you don’t want to go, you can actually stream the parade live via this link, so that’s much easier. You’ll just miss out on the opportunity to catch candy thrown from cars and floats (which you’ll miss out on anyway, honestly, if you’re an adult).

But, the parade is fun. I love a good parade. Heck, I love a bad parade. So it was worth it to me to go.

If you want to go, but you’re worried about parking, what festival guests will do is park at Independence Mall, then take the shuttle downtown for the parade. You can take the shuttle back when you’re done with the festivities. The shuttle is $2 for a one-way ticket or $4 for a round trip ticket.

A blow up slide for children.

The Children’s Area

If you’re bringing the kids, they can’t run through the festival unattended. There are so many people, it’s just not safe for them.

When they’re ready to run, find the Children’s Area. There are bounce houses, cornhole boards, animals brought from the North Carolina Aquarium At Fort Fisher, and more.

This year the Children’s Area will be in the same parking lot as the “street fair,” so it will be a lot easier on parents because everything is contained.

Fireworks

On Saturday night, around 9:30 pm, the fireworks will be shot over the Cape Fear River. You can get a great view of them anywhere on Water Street, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

Two women dressed in antebellum attire.

The Belles

This is sort of an honorable mention.

So, in addition to the Home Tour, there’s the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour.

What I loved about the Garden Tour is you were greeted at each garden by the Azalea Belles. The belles were dressed in antebellum attire (those beautiful huge dresses that you associate with Southern Belles). That’s something I remember seeing in movies and Cypress Gardens. To see the Belles in real life at the gardens, or standing at the gardens, it’s so special.

But, in 2020, the Cape Fear Garden Club decided to end the Azalea Belles program, much to the dismay of a lot of the residents of Wilmington. There are some details about that here.

Even though the Belles are no more, a Queen Azalea and her full court still participate in the festival. Past Queen Azaleas include Kelly Ripa, the Cosby Show’s Phylicia Rashad (in 1985 she was the festival’s first African-American Queen Azalea), and for 2022 the queen is former Miss America Nia Imani Franklin.

She’ll be crowned queen at a coronation ceremony on April 6, and following the coronation will be a concert by Girl Named Tom, winners of The Voice.

Full North Carolina Azalea Festival 2022 Schedule

This schedule is in alphabetical order, by day. So, just scroll down to the day that you’ll be at the 2022 Azalea Festival and you’ll see what events are happening that day.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Paws on Parade: A party for dogs and owners with a pageant and live music from (soon to be retiring) local band L Shaped Lot. Gates open at 11:30 am.

Friday, April 1

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Saturday, April 2

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Sunday, April 3

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Monday, April 4

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Tuesday, April 5

4-Course Chef Dinner: A ticketed dinner event, with a menu created by NC Chef of the Year Saif Rahman of Vidrio restaurant in Raleigh, hosted at Bluewater Grill. The event starts at 6:30 pm.

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Wednesday, April 6

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Queen’s Coronation Celebration Concert: The Azalea Queen will be crowned, followed by a concert featuring The Voice’s Girl Named Tom held at Live Oak Pavilion. The coronation will air live on WWAY CBS from 7 to 8 pm (the concert will not air). Doors open at 5 pm and the event starts at 7 pm.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Thursday, April 7

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Brantley Gilbert Concert: A ticketed concert held at Live Oak Pavilion. Doors open at 5 pm and the event starts at 7 pm.

Celebrity Reception: A private event for festival sponsors, the Azalea Queen, and others. The event starts at 11:30 am.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Friday, April 8

Airlie Luncheon Garden Party: Celebrity Reception: A private event for festival sponsors, the Azalea Queen, and others. The event starts at 11 am.

After Garden Get Down: The official after-party of the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party. This event is held at Bluewater Grill starting at 2 pm and is open to the public.

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour: A self-guided tour of 13 gardens. Tickets are required.

Little Shop Of Horrors: A play put on by the Thalian Association Community Theatre at Thalian Hall. The Azalea Festival is an executive producer of the show. Hours and ticket prices vary. Get tickets here.

Queen’s Dinner And Dance Party: A ticketed event held at Bluewater Grill at 6:30 pm.

REO Speedwagon Concert: A ticketed concert held at Live Oak Pavilion. Doors open at 5 pm and the event starts at 7 pm.

Street Fair: A street fair with over 250 vendors will be set up in the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center Parking Lot. Hours: 6 pm to 10 pm (food vendors only).

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours:10 am to 7 pm.

Saturday, April 9

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Azalea Festival Home Tour: A self-guided tour of 11 gardens. Tickets are required. Hours: Saturday: 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

Azalea Festival Parade: The parade will begin at 9:30 am.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Boxing Tournament: A boxing tournament hosted by Port City Boxing & Fitness and held at the Wilmington Convention Center. It’s free for spectators. Hours: 2 pm to 6 pm.

Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour: A self-guided tour of 13 gardens. Tickets are required.

Children’s Area At The Street Fair: There will be family-friendly vendors and hands-on activities, like bounce hours, set up at the street fair. Hours: 10 am to 6 pm.

Coin Show: There will be a coin show at the Elks Club. Children will be given free foreign currency and collectors can bring coins in to be appraised. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Cypress Hill Concert: A ticketed concert held at Live Oak Pavilion. Doors open at 5 pm and the event starts at 7 pm.

Fireworks: Fireworks will be shot off over the Cape Fear River at 9 pm.

Little Shop Of Horrors: A show put on by the Thalian Association Community Theatre at Thalian Hall. The Azalea Festival is an executive producer of the show. Hours and ticket prices vary. Get tickets here.

Patrons’ Party Gala: A private event for festival sponsors, the Azalea Queen, and others. The event starts at 7:30 pm.

Street Fair: A street fair with over 250 vendors will be set up in the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center Parking Lot. Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (all vendors), 6 pm to 10 pm (food vendors).

Tunes & Blooms Music Festival: A music festival that’s free to the public at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Concessions will be available to purchase. Hours: 12 pm to 10 pm.

Volleyball Tournament: A volleyball tournament will be held at Bill’s Front Porch (one of the breweries on our The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington list) at 11 am.

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.

Sunday, April 10

Art Show: A juried art show for adults, hosted by the Wilmington Art Association, at the Hannah Block Building USO/ Community Arts Center. Hours: 10 am to 4 pm.

Azalea Festival Home Tour: A self-guided tour of 11 gardens. Tickets are required. Hours: 1 pm to 5 pm.

Azaleas on Tour Porch Parade: Local homeowners decorate their porches for visitors to admire. The full map of participating porches is here.

Boxing Tournament: A boxing tournament hosted by Port City Boxing & Fitness and held at the Wilmington Convention Center. It’s free for spectators. Hours: 2 pm to 6 pm.

Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour: A self-guided tour of 13 gardens. Tickets are required.

Children’s Area At The Street Fair: There will be family-friendly vendors and hands-on activities, like bounce hours, set up at the street fair. Hours: 10 am to 6 pm.

Coin Show: There will be a coin show at the Elks Club. Children will be given free foreign currency and collectors can bring coins in to be appraised. Hours: 10 am to 4 pm.

Little Shop Of Horrors: A show put on by the Thalian Association Community Theatre at Thalian Hall. The Azalea Festival is an executive producer of the show. Hours and ticket prices vary. Get tickets here.

Port City Duck Dash: A rubber ducky race to benefit Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity. It starts at 4 pm.

Street Fair: A street fair with over 250 vendors will be set up in the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center Parking Lot. Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (all vendors).

Youth Art Show: A juried art show for students from elementary school to high school. It’s hosted in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center and will be on display until May 1, 2022. Hours: Sunday, April 10: 10 am to 4 pm.

The outside of the front of a hotel.

Where To Stay For The Azalea Festival:

If you’re coming into Wilmington, NC for the North Carolina Azalea Festival, you might need somewhere to stay.

Luckily for you, there are a bunch of hotels in the area, both downtown and in midtown (so a short drive from the festival, but closer to the local beaches).

Check out a few of them and search for availability below.

Hotels Within Walking Distance Of The Azalea Festival:

Hotels Within Driving Distance Of The Azalea Festival:

Three tacos from Block Taco in Wilmington, NC.

Where To Eat And Drink In Wilmington, NC:

If you’re not as into street fair food as I am, you might be looking for some other places to eat and drink. Our posts below will help you plan that part of your trip to Wilmington:

A fence at Tregembo Animal Park in Wilmington, NC.

Things To Do In Wilmington, NC:

The Azalea Fest doesn’t go all day long, so you might be looking for other things to do in the area when the festival ends. A few of our posts below can help you plan your trip:

Are you planning a trip to Wilmington for the North Carolina Azalea Festival 2022?

Sandra Crespo

Thursday 11th of April 2019

This festival looks awesome! We are planning on heading to North Carolina in about two months I have to see what events are happening then

TechyGrrrl

Thursday 11th of April 2019

Wow sounds like great fun to Visit the North Carolina Azalea festival. Would definitely love to visit and enjoy this festival.

Enriqueta E Lemoine

Monday 8th of April 2019

When I saw your headline, I thought about the azalea flowers! I love street fairs, flea markets and all kind of outdoors activities. Would like to enjoy the Azalea Fest... Thanks for sharing!

Alexandra Cook

Saturday 6th of April 2019

This is the first I've heard of this festival! I would LOVE to visit it for myself!

Rosey

Saturday 6th of April 2019

I don't mind all of the people. I think it would be fun, as would the street food finds. :)