Q. How did the Azalea Festival and the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off end up on the same weekend this year? Both appear very successful year after year.
A. Residents and tourists had two festivals to choose from this weekend: The larger, multiday N.C. Azalea Festival in its 65th year and the one-day, 16th annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off in Carolina Beach.
The two events usually aren’t held on the same weekend, but Easter fell the weekend before – which is typically when the Azalea Festival is held. The Chowder Cook-Off is always held during the weekend after Easter.
“We didn’t change our weekend,” explained Gail McCloskey, president of the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the festival. “What happened was Easter fell on the weekend that the Azalea Festival is usually held. They changed their weekend. We didn’t change ours.”
But two popular events held on opposite ends of the county on a Saturday didn’t seem to impact either festival. The Azalea Festival’s street fair and other events were crowded as usual, and the Chowder Cook-Off had a record-breaking attendance with more than 4,000 attendees.
Maybe it was the weather – sunny and in the 70s – or the popular Mark Roberts band at the Chowder festival that brought people out, officials there said.
Greg Reynolds, assistant director for the Chamber, said he thought the Azalea Festival would draw crowds away from the Chowder Cook-Off, but he and others were pleasantly surprised.
Maybe it’s because “chowder tastes better than azaleas,” he said.
Date posted: April 17, 2012
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