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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Festival begins Thursday

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Diane Petersen works in her State Street yard Tuesday in Charleston.
CHARLESTON -- The cold snap may have affected the spring foliage somewhat, but Charleston is still gearing up for it annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival.

The festival will be April 19-22 this year, according to Claudia Arington, executive director of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.

"Mother nature has thrown us a curve but we will still have a few Azaleas and of course everybody's yard will be manicured perfectly, so it will still be pretty. It just won't be a banner year for the flowers," Arington said. "Things will still be lovely; it will still be beautiful. The flowers may not be as colorful as in the past but we're still planning on a huge, successful festival."

This year's event includes both new attractions and old favorites.

"One of the things we've added this year, on Friday night were having Charleston's 'Blooming' Talent Show," Arington said. "Four of our loyal performing groups are going to provide a free concert to anyone that is visiting during the Dogwood-Azalea Festival at the Clara Drinkwater Newnam Auditorium. That's new this year."

The talent show will begin at 7 p.m., she said.

"Another new event we've added is a car show," Arington said. "It's an open car show -- if anybody wants to show their cars they can park them on the city parking lot on West Commercial Street."

At 3 p.m., a "best of show" trophy will be awarded for the car show. "We're just trying that this year as something new for the men," Arington said.

Events, activities and attractions that have been part of the festival for many years and scheduled once again for the festival include: a 5k race, art shows, an arts and craft show, a candlelight tour, a carnival, carriage rides, a train exhibit at the library, the Kiwanis fish fry, tours of the Hearnes Museum and the Historical Society Home, an ice cream social, the Lion's Club barbecue, a parade, the Piano Praise Concert, the plant sale, the Dogwood-Azalea Queen pageant, a quilt show, and the Phillips Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and Swine Races, according to Arington.

"The little pig races are hysterical," she said.

The home and garden tours, which were added last year, are again part of the festivities and include two homes and three gardens this year. "They are only on Thursday and Friday from 1-5 p.m.," Arington said.

Arington said the arts and crafts show is under new management this year.

"The girls are really trying to get some nice arts and crafts to be entered in our show," she said. "That is scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m."

Arington said there will be a variety of area talent performing at Rolwing Park.

On Saturday there will be performances by the Southeast Area Twirlers, Twirling Sensations, CHS Jazz Band, Midwest Gymnastic Arts, the Pullen Family and String Circle.

Beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Community Choir/Grand Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Choir will perform. "And after that, the Live Wires will entertain until 4 p.m.," Arington said.

There are also other events such as a book sale at the library and the Kiwanis Club Dog Show, according to Arington.

"It's a wonderful family weekend -- there's something for everybody from good food to arts and crafts to music to, of course, the pretty flowers and yards," she said.