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Why do so few marching bands participate in the N.C. Azalea Festival parade?

Amanda Greene
Azalea Festival Parade

A marching band performs as part of the 2011 Azalea Festival Parade. (StarNews file photo)

This answer comes from John Russ, the chairman of the 2011 N.C. Azalea Festival Parade.

“We always are looking to increase the number of bands in the parade. Marching band is a fall activity which does not coincide with the Azalea Festival Parade. Most marching bands have packed away their uniforms and are no longer practicing during this time. Also, the Festival sometimes falls during spring break, which makes it difficult as well.

“We waive the registration fee for all bands who would like to participate in the parade. The four local high schools join together to create one large all-star band which takes away from the total number of bands. Each year we reach out to as many bands as we can trying to get them to participate. As the parade chair, I would like nothing more than to have as many bands as possible, and the festival will continue to do everything we can to increase the number.”

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9 Responses to “ Why do so few marching bands participate in the N.C. Azalea Festival parade?”

  1. On April 19, 2011 at 11:38 am Randy wrote:

    Most parades not only waive the entry fee, but also pay to cover basic band expenses (100 to 250 dollars) to cover expenses.

  2. On April 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm Richard Howard wrote:

    Many people may not realize it, but marching in the Azalea Parade is “big stuff” for many small high schools bands in eastern North Carolina. I did it when I was a teenager, and now each parade brings me some really wonderful thoughts and memories of Wilmington. It was also great to pull that band bus up to “Paul’s Place” on the way home for the “worlds greatest hotdogs”. Keep those bands marching down 3rd street!

  3. On April 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm guest wrote:

    Why does the Citadel not send their band? They send a handful of cadets as escorts but I have never seen their band.

    VMI sends their band to various parades, one would expect the Citadel to send theirs to an event as large and close as the Azalea festival.

  4. On April 20, 2011 at 8:22 am Richard wrote:

    When my wife, kids and I use to attend every Azalea Fest Parade there were numerous marching bands. So wonder what has changed since then? It has been 20 years since we attended a parade so I didn’t know the number had fallen.
    I also know that the band I use to perform with from Granite Quarry High/East Rowan High marched every year in the Faith, N.C. Fourth of July parade. We had put our marching uniforms away but we all wore matching summer shirts and shorts.

  5. On April 21, 2011 at 9:09 am Stanley wrote:

    I know times change but the Azalea Festival Just is not what it once was. No matter what is claimed the numbers are down all you have to do is remember what it was like in it’s hey day. As a kid we had bands from all over attending the parade. Wilmington had Williston, NHHS, and Hoggard. High schools sent both Bands and ROTC units, plus Military units from most branches of the service. VMI use to come. They are out there, they just don’t come anymore. Maybe cost, maybe they weren’t asked? Try and email of a letter to each High School in the state asking them to attend. In the over all scheme the cost is nothing, what you get might surprise. With just a little research at the football games in the fall you could narrow it down to the really good ones. That is just high schools, you still have colleges and the military.

  6. On April 21, 2011 at 10:40 am Marci wrote:

    Where was the Marine Corp band?? I too grew up here and remember a lot more floats and don’t recall any bail bonds men or accident attorneys advertising! Shame on you !!! I won’t attend until you clean your self up!!! Shall I just consider the good ole days are gone???

  7. On April 23, 2011 at 9:42 pm Charles Walters wrote:

    The last time I went to a parade it was so long and drawn out I vowed to never attend one again. It seemed like the parade officals let any one and every one march, and the majority were sad church groups who had no idea what they were doing, and that made the parade a waste of time, and not the special time it used to be in the past.

  8. On April 24, 2011 at 10:45 am guest wrote:

    Since the band numbers are down, then you should allow the area NHC bands to play seperate. I was in the band years ago and we always played seperate. It was awesome. I have to say now I am soooo disappointed in the festival each year. It is nothing more than a moving advertising show. Please bring back the entertainment, bands, dancers and such. I know times are tuff and we have to enjoy what have.

  9. On September 23, 2011 at 10:00 am Jessica wrote:

    There is no money for the bands and ROTC units to attend. Back in 1982, 1983 when I was in the ECU AFROTC Drill team, we would have a lot of fun marching in it but the funding has been cut.

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