Friday, April 13, 2007

Charleston's Dogwood & Azalea Festival


Last week, Charleston looked like Augusta, Georgia during the Master's tournament. The lovely antebellum homes on Hwy. NN were ablaze with dogwoods and azaleas, as far as the eye could see. The frost put an end to all of that. The trees and shrubs bloomed two weeks earlier than they had in the past, and the 38th AnnualDogwood and Azalea Festival Committee is probably not very happy about that.

The festival won't begin for another week, three weeks after peak bloom and two weeks after a killing frost. The Charleston Chamber of Commerce has dedicated thousands of hours to this year's festival. Tourists come from all over the mid-south to Missouri's bootheel for the fish fry, the quilt displays, the bluegrass music, the petting zoo and fair rides. The festival has a pageant, an ice cream social, a series of piano concerts, and an extensive exhibit of toy trains. Charleston's festival is the county seat's big event and the last day of each event is the first day of planning for the next year's event.

I have a sneaky suspicion that in the days leading up to the festival there will be a run on silk spring flowers at the local discount retailer. The shelves will likely be cleared of everything but tumbleweeds. Even though it will be full of silk flowers, the town of Charleston will have another successful, beautiful Dogwood and Azalea Festival.

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