CHARLESTON - The word is out nationwide about Charleston's Dogwood Azalea Festival.
The AAA magazine, AAA Midwest Traveler, has named the festival a "Midwest Travel Treasure."
The Travel Treasure series is part of each bimonthly issue of the magazine. Featured in the March/April issue of the AAA Midwest Traveler, the festival was selected as a "Treasure" for its appeal to typical AAA members. Also the festival is featured in a half-page article in the magazine.
"We're pleased to add the Dogwood-Azalea Festival to the growing list of 'treasures' in our region," said Michael Right, editor/publisher of AAA Midwest Traveler, in a news release announcing the honor. "Our members recognize the Midwest has endless travel and recreational opportunities. We try to offer events like the Dogwood-Azalea Festival to our readers to encourage more exploration of local sites and attractions."
The festival, this year scheduled for April 24-27, will receive a certificate in recognition of being named a "Travel Treasure."
However, Lisa Hillhouse with the Charleston Chamber of Commerce said the designation means more than just a certificate.
"I think it adds a tremendous amount of prestige and will make it an even bigger draw," said Hillhouse. "We are just thrilled about it."
Since the magazine was published, Hillhouse said the Chamber's phone "has been ringing off the hook. It is just amazing."
In addition to answering individual traveler's requests for information about the festival and Charleston, the Chamber director said the town has also booked a record number of bus tours for this year's event. There are 36 bus tours booked to date, according to Hillhouse.
The variety of events during the festival offers wide appeal and now in its 35th year it has a strong reputation for quality, Hillhouse continued, but the real attraction always will be the dogwoods and azaleas which gives the festival its name. "I think the real appeal is the beauty of all the blooms and the homes," said Hillhouse.
In addition to the AAA magazine, this year's Dogwood-Azalea Festival will be featured on the cover of the upcoming Show-Me Missouri magazine. Also it is listed in Better Homes and Gardens magazine's schedule of events, Mazda's Zoom Zoom magazine and Southern Living.
For more information about Charleston's Dogwood-Azalea Festival call 573-683-6509 or visit the Chamber's Website, www.charlestonmo.org.