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Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival

After a long, icy winter, Spring has finally returned to Missouri. With it comes the multitude of green leaves and blooming buds throughout the area. For citizens of southeast Missouri, this is a sure sign that the Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival is quickly approaching.

This year marks the 46th annual Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival, which has been themed “The Glory of Spring” for 2014. The festival will take place from Thursday, April 10th through Sunday, April 13th in various locations throughout Charleston. Large tour groups (able to register for specific events on the festival website) make their way to the festival from far distances. Karen Teeters of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce notes that this year’s festival has attracted, “several groups from St. Louis, and even two from Minnesota.”

While the namesake of the festival is the main feature, there are dozens of other events and activities that people can enjoy while they are enjoying the Dogwood-Azalea Trail. Those wishing to get the whole family involved in the festival fun can take advantage of the Arts and Crafts Bazaar. Taking place in Dr. E. Charles Rolwing Park, the Arts and Crafts Bazaar will feature numerous booths for activities, as well as live entertainment on Friday and Saturday, including Kristopher Allen—who will be performing magic and making balloon animals—the Southeast Area Twirlers, the Charleston High School band, and much more.

In addition to the Arts and Crafts Bazaar, there will be an art show every day of the festival at different times each day. Some of the art displayed will be available for sale. The art show will be in the Former Courtesy Ford Building.

Perhaps one of the most popular festival attractions is the carnival. The carnival will take place Thursday through Sunday, and tickets for the rides will be $20 for twenty-five tickets. Another popular event within the festival is the parade, which will be Saturday, April 12th at 11 a.m.

The festival will have a fast-paced finish with the 36th annual Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival 5K Race. The race will follow a scenic route that will enable runners to enjoy miles of blooming Dogwoods and Azaleas. The 5K race will begin on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.  There will also be a 1-mile walk that begins the same time as the 5K, as well as a Youth & Toddler Race that starts at 1:30 p.m.  Check-in will open at 11:30 a.m. and will close at 1:00 p.m.  A high quality long-sleeved T-shirt is guaranteed if you register by March 30, 2014.

There will be many other events at the Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival, including a dog show (4 p.m. Saturday), carriage rides (from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday), and the Miss Dogwood-Azalea Pageant (Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.).For a full list of events at the Charleston Dogwood-Azalea Festival and detailed information about each of them, go to http://charlestonmo.org/festival/.

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