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Street Fairs, Festivals, and Parades


Somewhere around 2013/ 2014, I was living in Newberry, SC.  I was employed at a Lutheran Church as the Ministries Coordinator and was responsible for arranging trips for our adult Senior Group, called the Rambleers. These ladies and men LOVED day travel- to Biltmore, to Charleston, to.. well, just about anywhere where they could find good food, adventures, and fellowship.

We connected with a local tour company on some of our day travels and I had the chance to partake in some of the weekend adventures the tour company offered. I found myself in Wilmington, NC for an Azalea Festival. At the time, my experience with NC solely rested on the western part of the state, with one minor exception.. one of my college friends was married here. 

So, I jumped on a bus with mostly older couples and we made our way to Wilmington. We stopped at Poplar Plantation, we took a dinner cruise on the then Henrietta Riverboat, we went into Airlie Gardens and saw lots of Azaleas! 

Fast Forward just a few years, and I now LIVE here. 

Azalea Festival, typically held in the Spring, is a big tourism draw for our community. My original experience didn't include the Coronation of an Azalea Queen, the parade, the street fair, and all of the excitement that comes with this festival! 

The Pandemic has changed a lot of stuff and the Azalea Festival Board decided to move some of it's activities to this coming weekend. It seems like a weird time to host a street fair and parade- literally the weekend before public school starts- but there is still lots of excitement! 

The Church I currently work with is located downtown, only a few blocks from the parade route. Our Youth will be getting up super early Saturday morning to host a parking fundraiser. We have no idea what to expect- after all, Azaleas bloom in the Spring and it's, umm, hot muggy icky August. 

Pesky Henri and Fred have also been rolling in some major storms that have been filled with rain, lightning, and general inkiness. I hope they stay at bay, at least during the parade and evening concert, but as y'all know, we can't control nature! 

But, we will still host our fundraiser, we will still go watch the parade (unless it's pouring.. drizzle sure, but y'all, I draw the line beyond that), and I do have tickets to an Avett Brothers Concert Saturday evening! That concert is at our brand new venue, an outdoor amphitheater along the river, so I already know it will be hot, muggy, and probably buggy with all of this insane weather! 

If it's not too blazing hot or bad weather, I'll wander the street fair, but honestly, those have never really been my forte. I don't mind parades because I can stake out a spot not in crowds, but I dislike the massive throngs of people that wander up and down streets spending money on food and items they don't really need. Don't get me wrong, I love supporting local artists, but, sometimes, I just don't want to be around big groups of people (this was pre-pandemic too!) 

What about you? Do you like street fairs and parades?  Is there something you always go seeking out? 

I don't even know what our festival booths will be this year, so I have no clue what to expect! 

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