April in Wilmington, NC means a big celebration of the azalea plant. The flowers are hopefully in full bloom the 5 days set aside for this celebration. The big deal for those 5 days is something they call the Garden Party where you pay $150 for a ticket to stand outside and drink warm beer and be seen. There is more seersucker there than in Matlock’s closet. Of course, all the women folk must dress up in appropriate dresses and hats – think Kentucky Derby. There is something going on all over the city for the festival. I choose to stay in my own yard to keep from battling all the tourists and drunk locals.
This year I was invited by one of my best friends to the Patron’s Gala at the convention center downtown. That meant getting all dressed up and being her date for the evening. We decided to leave that party and walk in 4 inch heels to a bar where a friend of ours band was playing. It seemed like 27 miles but was probably a little less than one mile…but still 4 inch heels and in semi-formal dresses was quite a trek after a few cocktails. On the way out of the gala we “borrowed” some of their masquerade party decorations.
Most everyone we met on the street was in shorts and flipflops or other suitable southern night, downtown Wilmington attire. You can imagine the looks and comments we got along the way with our formal attire and our masks.
The most memorable comment was from another woman behind me who proclaimed loudly “that is one sweet ass on you baby” and as she and her friends passed us she turned to me and said “I would marry that sweet ass if it were legal in NC” then promptly kissed the woman she was with. I guess she moved on to someone else when I didn’t respond quickly enough.
We finally got to the bar where the band was playing and made our grand entrance in our Azalea Festival finery. It didn’t take long for both of us to be asked to dance and many beers bought for us. One young Marine in particular decided he liked dancing with me and after many shots and beer for him, he decided he was in love with me and wanted to marry me. Wanted to take me back to his Sweet Home Alabama where he informed me he was going to launch his country music singing career.
So there you go. My one Azalea Festival event in many years ended with two marriage proposals and a pseudo red neck bar. If this keeps up I may have an Azalea Festival wedding someday with my own garden party, parade, celebrities, gala, etc.