WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Azalea Festival is in full swing, and the town is buzzing as the queen and her entourage make grand appearances all over the Port City.
A tour of our fair city is always one of the highlights of the week as the queen, her court and celebrity guests connect with the community.
“I love Wilmington,” Queen Azalea Ericka Dunlap said. “I’m going to make it my second home.”
Dunlap was Miss America 2004 and a contestant on “The Amazing Race.” Her reign and her game took her all over the world, but she says nothing compares to her reign over the Azalea Festival.
The first stop on her tour was Myrtle Grove Christian School.
“I like when there is no school and there’s something exciting going on,” student Jenna Kyff said of the Queen’s visit.
Dunlap had a special connection with the kids, because she also went to a private Christian school.
“I felt like she was kind of like me at some point, and now she’s great and kind of famous,” student Sarah Delacourt said. “So it’s kind of like, well, that’s where I could go.”
“They can just see that you can do anything that you set your mind to,” assistant school administrator Julie Ashcraft said.
The second stop of the celebrity tour was the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s hospital, where Dunlap had another special connection, because her mom was a nurse.
Then it was on to the Brigade Boys & Girls Club.
“This is a great opportunity for our kids to meet some great role models, some celebrities, some people that otherwise they might not get the opportunity to come in contact with,” Boys & Girls Club Chief Jeff Green said.
“There’s nothing like being in the South, and there’s nothing like being in Wilmington,” Dunlap said. “I have just received such a warm reception from the people here, and I love it. I can’t wait to come back over and over again.”
The queen will make a special appearance at the Kenny Loggins concert tonight at Trask Coliseum. Then she’ll be up bright and early to cut the ribbon on the Cape Fear Garden Club’s annual Azalea Garden Tour.