Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Azalea Festival announces its 2024 queen, celebrity guests

Sharon Lawrence will be the 77th annual Azalea Queen. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — With the springtime festival only two weeks away, the 2024 Azalea Queen has been announced.

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TV, stage and film actress Sharon Lawrence will wear the crown in the 77th annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, slated to take place April 3 – 7.

Lawrence has North Carolina ties, previously having resided in both Raleigh and Charlotte. She is a UNC graduate in journalism, with an honorary doctorate from the Arts from North Carolina Wesleyan University, and also helped found the North Carolina Theatre.

Lawrence stars in the recent Paramount+ crime series “Joe Pickett” and was part of Showtime’s “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” featuring Kirsten Dunst, as well as Apple TV’s “Home Before Dark.” Lawrence has been on other popular shows like “Queen Sugar,” “Shameless” and “Criminal Minds.”

She was nominated for an Ovation Award and received the LA Drama Critics Circle Award for her film work in “Orson’s Shadow,” and her most recent Broadway stint included the famed cabaret-star-turned-murderess Velma Kelly in “Chicago.” 

The queen will be joined by her court — including eight pageant winners from across the state. The coronation of Queen Azalea will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at the Battleship.

Other celebrity guests joining Lawrence include Wilmington actress Elle Graham, who can be seen in “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret,” based on the Judy Blume book, which filmed in Charlotte a few years ago. She’s also appeared on Disney Channel’s “The Secrets of Sulphur Springs.”

Miss NC Taylor Lloyd, two-time national figure skating champion Gracie Gold — who also competed in the 2014 Olympics — four-star Admiral Karl L. Schultz, “Got it From My Momma” podcast host Jennifer Vickery Smith and the official Azalea Festival artist, oil painter Sharon Jones, round out guests.

All will be recognized at the celebrity reception held April 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the Cape Fear Country Club. They will also appear at a multitude of festival events as well, including the official garden party at Airlie Gardens, the downtown parade, home and garden tours, Queen’s Dance Party and more.

To see the full lineup of Azalea Festival happenings, click here.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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