Ann Ipock: Ipock-a-Lips - This week for Russell, it’s the Masters and for me, it’s the Azalea Festival
Living in a small city (or, should I say a large town?) has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here in Wilmington, N.C., we are known for our annual Azalea Festival and it just so happens it’s this week.
By the looks of the traffic congestion, crazy drivers and media advertisements (newspaper, TV, radio, billboards), we are about to be inundated with festival goers. So, it’s a mixed bag – you gotta take the bad (traffic) with the good (increased revenue).
The local newspaper included an Azalea Festival 2013 Survival Guide in the Sunday paper and I’m thinking seriously about going to some of the events, since there’s apparently lots of fun slated.
Y’all, this is a big deal. In fact, our parade marshal is Gov. Pat McCrory. Other VIP’s include the Azalea Queen, Jennifer Wayne, with her court, which is comprised of Azalea belles – local girls dressed in period costume which are sewn by local, authorized seamstresses.
Wayne is a country singer and the granddaughter of John Wayne.
She’s also a star in the reality show “The Amazing Race.” Also slated to appear are Arlie Honeycutt, Miss N.C. 2012, Emily Maynard (contestant on both “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”) and Win McMurry.
Win is a native of Wilmington and a journalist and host on the Golf Channel. (Isn’t that ironic that two of the Golf Channel’s most popular female sportscasters are from the eastern parts of the Carolinas? Kelly Tilghman, of course, is a native of Myrtle Beach.)
This is our 66th festival and according to the press, each year is bigger and better than the previous one.
Well, since they moved the musical performances to downtown from the UNC-W campus, they’re promising many, many more tickets will be available, so that’s one thing.
Other exciting activities include The Cole Bros. Circus Big Top, a street fair – I’ve gotta get down there for some funnel cakes – a juried art show, coin show and other happenings.
And yet, hub-Russ and I never seem to get involved in this yearly ritual.
I don’t know why except to say there’s not a whole lot of stuff we’d want to do together.
He wouldn’t enjoy the tour of homes or the tour of gardens.
I wouldn’t enjoy the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
“What?” you say.
It’s true, I’m not a fan – but I am a fan of beach music, so I’d love to see the Craig Woolard Band’s concert or Jim Quick and the Coastline Band, that are both playing Sunday afternoon.
I’m sure Russell won’t go with me (though he loves beach music) because The Masters golf tournament is playing its final round on Sunday.
He’s already banned me from the living room, just like he does every year.
He’s been reminding me for several weeks and I’ve been trying my darndest to take a four-day vacation so I can be gone the entire time the tournament is on and not just the final day.
But, so far, I haven’t been able to swing it, no pun intended. Maybe the Azalea Festival is the answer.
I really love living here, but I also miss Georgetown County like crazy.
In fact, Wilmington reminds me of Georgetown in many ways.
Both have a beautiful downtown area with huge water oaks draped in Spanish moss, beautiful rivers, salt marshes, the Inland Waterway and of course, the beach. Both towns are known for historically-significant buildings, beautiful architecture and old, interesting cemeteries—also lovely churches, gardens and galleries—and wonderful shopping.
We don’t have plantations, though an exception would be Orton Plantation (now owned by a private family and heir to the original owner) and we have Airlie Gardens, but it’s nothing like Brookgreen Gardens.
We both have massive bridges and I guess you could compare our Azalea Festival to your Wooden Boat Show.
We both have friendly, outgoing, super-kind residents and both tout a large tourist population.
Our weather is similar and our terrain is, as well.
Now that I think about it, maybe that’s the reason our transition was easier than I expected when we moved here a few years back.
And knowing I can come back “home” to S.C. – which I do every chance I get – in a little over an hour makes it pretty darn easy. So, let me go and check out our Azalea Festival, which runs Wednesday through Sunday, and I’ll let you know how it compares to your Wooden Boat Show.
“Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller”
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