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The Annual Azalea Festival once again saw big crowds in Fredericktown for a weekend of music, events and a little muddy fun with the sun finally shining Sunday.

The prince and princess, Boston Willie McMinn and Emma Griffon were crowned Thursday night. The next night, 2018 Azalea Queen Lynsey Gulley crowned her successor, Maya Francis.

Despite the muddy festival grounds the crowds did not seemed to be phased as they came prepared, mud boots and all. The rain did cause several cancellations over the weekend including the tractor pulls.

"As Jenn (McClanahand) said 'when life give you lemons, make lemonade,' that's what she did," Azalea Board President Jim Thompson said. "They added side-by-side pulls on the muddy track as well as trucks pulling each other back to back. Everyone just had a blast."

Thompson said there was even a point in the evening where money was put in the muddy track and the kids competed to find it.

"Honestly we had a minimal amount of people come by and complain," Thompson said. "Most were like 'hey it's the first weekend in May what do you expect.'"

The Los Moralitos Circus was a new addition to this year's festivities. The performers took the festival to new heights as they walked the tight rope, spun on the circus ring and conquered the wheel of destiny.

Thompson said the Azalea Festival Committee met the circus act at the annual festival convention in Columbia.

"We definitely listen to everyone and try to see what seems to be popular or that people like and we try to get them back," Thompson said. "I heard nothing but good about Los Moralitos and everyone I talked to really enjoyed it."

Thompson said he has been going to the Azalea Festival since the first one when he was 10 months old. 

"It's something that personally I always look forward to every year," Thompson said. "Our collective goal is to just put on as good of a product as we can. You're not going to please everyone, but we are going to do the best we can."

Thompson said the event pulls the community together.

"When we see you with a smile on your face, spending time with your family or just hanging out with friends you may not see any other time of the year, that's our focus, that is what Azalea is all about," Thompson said. "On behalf of the Azalea Board we would like to thank all of the volunteers, their families and everyone else who made the weekend possible."

Thompson said he would like to thank the City of Fredericktown for the use of the park and all the emergency personnel who helped with keeping the event safe and shutting down roads.  

For more results and several photos of the weekend's events, check out the B section in this edition of the Democrat News or go to www.democratnewsonline.com

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

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