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Azalea Festival in full bloom

The 2018 Azalea Festival is this weekend and the theme is “Celebrating 200 Years of Madison County.”

The bicentennial theme can be seen throughout town with banners hung on light posts. Many businesses participated in the Madison County Chamber of Commerce window decorating contest, filling the local windows with bicentennial photos and facts. The parade will also feature floats decorated around the theme.

The festival will kick off tonight with the Prince and Princess Pageant at Fredericktown High School at 7 p.m. and will run through Sunday evening with numerous activities, events and vendors.

Friday night will start with the opening of the carnival at 4 p.m. and end with the coronation of the Azalea Festival Queen at 7 p.m. at the Kelly A. Burlison Middle School Auditorium.

“We do have a new carnival ride this year,” Azalea Board President Jim Thompson said. “It is a big ride for the big kids.”

Also, opening Friday will be the Remembering our Fallen Wall at the Sonderman building. Sponsored by Dockins Communications, Green’s Flea Market and New Era Bank, this exhibit is a traveling photo memorial of 156 fallen soldiers from Missouri who have died in the War on Terror. 

The annual pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m., at the United Methodist Church will kick off Saturday’s festivities. The rest of the day will be filled with the Azalea fun run, golf tournament, arts and crafts, car show, lawn mower pulls, diaper derby, pet show, RC car races, kiddie pedal tractor pull, super farmer competition, horse shoe tournament, tractor pulls, hula hoop contest, glow walk, music throughout the day and of course the food and the carnival.

“We are expecting a big truck pull this year with the addition of some new categories,” Thompson said.

The Daughters of the American Revolution will hold a wreath laying ceremony at 3 p.m., on the south side of the courthouse to honor the 11 Revolutionary War Patriots who came to Madison County and helped in its founding. Members of the Sons of the American Revolution will present the colors and hold a musket salute. The National Anthem will be sung by Jenny Revelle.

Sunday will begin with a church service led by Pastor Raymond Michael at 8 a.m. at the Azalea Park Pavilion. Arts and crafts will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and music by Southern Brothers at 11 a.m. and Ozark Mountain Harmony at 4 p.m.

“We have some good entertainment lined up,” Thompson said. “We just want to make sure everyone has a safe weekend and a good time.”

The parade will begin at 2 p.m., Sunday at the intersection of Marshall Street and West Marvin. The route then heads east on West Marvin to South Main Street continuing north to the court square. After a three quarters turn around the courthouse the parade will continue on to West Main Street until making a left on South Wood and then a right on West College finishing at the National Guard Armory.

SMTS will once again be providing shuttle services on Saturday and Sunday to the JC Park Fairgrounds. Pick-ups will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday with pick-up locations at Court Square-Southside, Corner of Spruce and Garrett Streets, Azalea Ridge Apartments and the armory. Pick-ups will also be available at First Baptist Church on Saturday only. The SMTS vans will run approximately every 20 minutes.

The Azalea Festival Board would like to give a special thanks to those in the community who help in so many ways to make the Azalea Festival a success.

For a complete schedule, click on the story online or visit https://www.facebook.com/Fredericktown-Azalea-Festival-241208905964771/

Azalea Park and Wanda Priest Park began their transformations for the Azalea Festival on Tuesday. Carnival rides were being set up and lines for the craft tables were being painting on the grass.

Azalea Park and Wanda Priest Park began their transformations for the Azalea Festival on Tuesday. Carnival rides were being set up and lines for the craft tables were being painting on the grass.

Runners take off at the start of the 2017 Azalea Fun Run. The event will take place Saturday morning.

Runners take off at the start of the 2017 Azalea Fun Run. The event will take place Saturday morning.

Crews were hard at work on Tuesday setting up the carnival rides in Wanda Priest Park.

Crews were hard at work on Tuesday setting up the carnival rides in Wanda Priest Park.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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