The Azalea Festival Parade continues to be one of Southeastern North Carolina’s largest annual event, with over 100,000 viewers each year. Our traditional parade route flows right through the heart of Historic downtown Wilmington. Floats, marching units and bands, clowns and horses, all highlighted by visiting celebrities, Queen Azalea and her court, and the Azalea Festival Princess await you!
If you’re interested in applying to be in the 2017 Parade, please see the button below to view the online application. Please note, the application will be open starting October 1, 2016.View the 2017 Parade Application
We have included a simple guide on how to create your own Parade Float from two types of trailers. Click here to download and print pdf guide. ***Please note, float design expenses and decorations will be at the expense of the participant. No funding to create your own float is available through the North Carolina Azalea Festival.
The 70th North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade will be held Saturday, April 8th and will follow the historic one-mile long Parade route up 3rd Street in historic downtown Wilmington. It is important that we put on an entertaining and engaging show for both attendees and television viewers alike. To that end, we ask that you submit and decorate your unit accordingly and not only positively represent your group, but represent the pride and joy that flows from participating in one of our oldest community events.
- October 1st – November 15: Early registration discount applies: All paying groups except official 501C-3 Nonprofits paying $25 fee shall receive an early bird discount of $50.00 and all individuals shall receive a discount of $25.00.
- November 16 – March 1: Normal pricing will apply on payment.
- March 1st Registration Closes.
- March 2nd to March 15th: Late Fee of $75.00 late fee will apply to all paying units from.
- Any Unpaid applications after March 15 will be subject to cancellation.
Unit Types & Entry Fees:
Standard Unit Entry
The price for each unit to enter the parade $350.00. (If you have your own float it is $350.00. If you would like to rent a float see Float Rental Entry below.) This does not apply to Queen/Princess Entries, there is special pricing for these units, see below Queen/Princess Entry.
Official 501-C3 Charitable Non-Profit Entry
If you are an official 501-c3 Non-Profit the regular entry fee is $50. You will need to submit official 501-c3 documentation. The special cost for an official 501c3 to rent a float is $875, this fee includes the float rental and the entry fee. This does not apply to Queen/Princess Entries riding in cars. There is a special price for these units, see below Queen/Princess Entry)
Other Non-Profit or Community Organization not designated 501-c3 Entry
If your group is not an official 501-c Non-Profit the standard Unit Entry fee applies of $350. Please see information on Float rental below.
The price for a veteran group is $10 per group.
Float Rental Entry
The price for businesses and organizations to enter the parade and rent a float through the North Carolina Azalea Festival is $1,150.00. This fee includes a black and white banner on the side of the float with your organization/business name on it. The fee also includes azaleas to be displayed on your float during the Parade. Distribution of azaleas will take place the morning of the Parade and will be collected immediately after the parade.
School (or) Military Marching Bands & JROTC Unit Entry
Free!! (Does not apply to Community or Show Bands)
Giant Inflatable Balloon Rental Entry
With the giant inflatable balloon rental you can choose from a variety of available balloon characters Elmo or Cookie Monster that can go down the Parade route. The balloons are 15 to 45 feet in height and Cold Air (on ground) or Helium (floating in air). We will provide a 10′ Banner with your organization’s name and or logo showing sponsorship. We will also provide the volunteers to walk the balloon and banner down the route or you can have people from your organization in matching shirts walk with the balloon for added impact. One vehicle with the balloon is also permitted. (Helium floating in air $5,000 or Cold Air Balloon riding on platform down route $3,500). Cost can be split between 2 or 3 businesses. Please contact the parade committee for interest in balloon entries.
Motor Club (Cars & Motorcycle Clubs) Entry
The price to enter the Parade as a car club, motorcycle group, ATV group, etc. is $350.00 for the first 10 units and $25.00 per any additional unit over ten. (Unit being 1 car, 1 motorcycle, etc.)
The price to enter the Parade as a queen or princess is $150.00 PER QUEEN. 2 Queens riding in same car is $300. Signs will be provided for vehicles. Please provide your own vehicle. The Azalea Festival may be able to help entries find or locate a vehicle and driver in certain situations, please contact the Parade Committee to see if we can help get you in contact with someone.
Horse Group Entry
The price to enter the parade as a horse group is $350.00. If your group will incorporate the use of ATV’s, there is an additional fee of $250.00 for the first 10 units and $15.00 per unit thereafter. Individual horse groups without ATV’s should complete one application. **Coggins documents must be presented for the event on each horse.
Businesses Entering the Parade:
These options are designed to create great Parade entries. These options also give businesses the ability to help bring school bands to the Parade by sponsoring them or helping a 501c3 Non-Profit to have access to a float. If you have a fun and exciting idea for an entry that does not fit one the following categories, please contact the Parade committee.
- Enter a float (Two options: (1) Provide your own =$350 entry fee or (2) Rent one through the Festival= $1150 entry fee).
- Sponsor a non-profit float, this will include a banner on the groups float showing sponsorship ($1150 entry fee).
- Sponsor a school marching band ($500 entry fee).
- Sponsor a giant character balloon, this will include a 10 ft banner with balloon with your organization name or logo showing sponsorship. Can have employees or group members walk the balloon down the route. (Helium floating in air $5,000 or Cold Air Balloon riding on platform down route $3,500). Cost can be split between 2 or 3 businesses. Please contact the parade committee for interest in balloon entries.
In 2015, we introduced our first Cold Air Balloons, Kermit and Elmo. In 2016, we introduced our first Helium Balloon, Abby Caddaby. Our balloon suppliers have almost any mainstream character such as Babar, Bear in the Big Blue House, Aladdin, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Baby Smurf, etc. With the giant inflatable balloon entry rental you can choose your character and receive a 10 ft banner showing your organization’s name or logo sponsoring the balloon. You can also have employees or members of your organization walk the balloon down the route in matching shirts or have a vehicle follow in front or behind the balloon. The balloons range from 15 to 40 feet in height. Please register and contact us for more information and to select your balloon.View the 2017 Parade Application
While the Parade is FREE for everyone to attend, we offer Parade Bleacher Tickets for spectators. Parade Bleacher Tickets will be on sale in the Spring!