Crowds boom and bloom for Azalea festival -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Crowds boom and bloom for Azalea festival

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One of south Georgia's biggest events kicked off this weekend. Despite the occasional showers, thousands of people enjoyed the 10th annual Azalea Festival in Valdosta.

Hot dogs are fresh off the grill at Alan Davis' tent. He and his staff sell the sweet with the salty. Davis says he's been coming to the festival every year selling hamburgers and ice cream in Drexel Park and thrives on days like these.

He started when only a handful of tents existed. Now there are one after another after another of food and craft vendors, including Raynae William's who supports her son by selling raw honey and bees wax products.

"You're supporting your own community and the sales tax goes back into Lowndes County," Williams said.

"It's important people get out and live the American way and support the town," Davis noted. "This event has a great impact on Valdosta."

It also impacts his employees as he travels around the country for festivals, because when they get paid they spend money which also impacts the economy.  So do parents who bring their kids along for the fun and games.

"There's all kinds of stuff to do for everybody including games for the kids," said mother Samantha Kelly.

Not only do people spend money at the festival but they also poor money into local restaurants and hotels.

"When they leave here and stop and buy gas on their way out, that also has an impact," Davis said.

As people come and go Davis will continue to dress his hamburger with produce from locals, so the economy in south Georgia can thrive.

Nearly 30,000 people are expected to visit the Azalea festival this weekend. Festivities will continue Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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