Azalea Fest: Road closures; where to park is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

azaleafestlogoWhen crowds converge on the Port City for the 68th annual N.C. Azalea Festival this weekend, getting in and around downtown Wilmington might be a little tricky.

This year’s parade features a new time–9:30 to 11:30 a.m.–as well as a new route. It starts at the south end of downtown and traveling north up Third Street. The viewing area is located along Third from Market to Bladen streets. Bleacher seating is available on Third between Grace and Chestnut streets, with additional seating on Market. Concession stands and restrooms will also be available in and around these areas.

During the parade, traffic will be rerouted from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway off Third Street and onto Davis Street, down Fourth Street to Chestnut Street. The city can be accessed from the east onto Second Street via Chestnut Street from Fifth Avenue.

The street fair is set for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m. Saturday.


On-street parking is free Saturday and Sunday, with no time limits.

The fee is $7 per hour at the following parking decks:

  • Market Street parking deck at Second Street
  • Second Street parking deck between Chestnut and Princess streets
  • Library parking deck, 200 N. Second St.
  • Cape Fear Community College parking decks (cash only)
  • Nutt Street parking deck

The Wilmington Convention Center parking deck is $8.

Access to all parking decks will be unavailable from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday due to the parade. A parade shuttle service runs from Independence Mall (behind Firehouse Subs, near Sears) to the corner of Dock and Second streets from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Street closings

According to the city, several roads will be blocked off due to festival activities.

The following streets will be closed today through 8 p.m. Sunday for the street fair:

  • Red Cross Street at Front Street
  • Walnut Street at Front Street
  • Walnut Street at Water Street
  • Grace Street at Front Street
  • Chestnut Street at Front Street
  • Princess Street at Front Street
  • Market Street at Front Street
  • Water Street at Market Street

The following streets will be also be closed from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for the parade:

  • Surry Street at Castle Street
  • Front Street at Castle Street
  • Second Street at Castle Street
  • Third Street at Castle Street
  • Fourth Street at Castle Street
  • Fifth Avenue between Church and Walnut streets
  • Fourth Street between Red Cross and Harnett streets
  • Third Street at Davis Street
  • Third Street at Market Street
  • Third Street between Princess and Harnett streets
  • Front Street between Church and Market streets