Azalea Festival prepares for large crowds - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Azalea Festival prepares for large crowds

Azalea Festival kicks off March 12. (Source: WALB) Azalea Festival kicks off March 12. (Source: WALB)
Preparations are underway for the festival. (Source: WALB) Preparations are underway for the festival. (Source: WALB)
Azalea Festival Executive Director Aaron Strickland (Source: WALB) Azalea Festival Executive Director Aaron Strickland (Source: WALB)
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Preparations are underway for the 16th annual Azalea Festival that kicks off March 12, 2016.

"We're just doing a lot of last minute buttoning up of loose ends and things like that. Making sure entertainers know where to go and vendors know where to go," says festival executive director Aaron Strickland. 

The festival is expected to draw in a crowd of at least 25,000 people from all over the country.

"We have patrons come from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee. We have vendors coming all the way from South Dakota," Strickland explains. 

The event continues to grow year after year, bringing more cash flow into the city. 

"When you have this many people it's going to have an economic impact. Our hotels are going to be visited, our restaurants are going to be visited," says Strickland.

Organizers hope visitors will also take the opportunity to see the improvements to downtown, Wild Adventures, and everything Valdosta has to offer. 

"We're hoping that people go downtown which has been going under revitalization and visit the shops and stores that are downtown," Strickland explains, "we're just hoping to give people a reason to come here, be exposed to all these things, and want to come back." 

The festival is free and open to the public. 

It will kick off with a 5K Saturday, March 12th. 

For a full list of events click here

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