Every year in April Wilmington comes together to celebrate the beauty and charm of their coastal community. The North Carolina Azalea Festival is the largest event of its kind in North Carolina, so it would stand to reason that planning for this grand celebration must go on year-round.Next year marks the 70th annual North Carolina Azalea Festival and one of the first functions is the unveiling of the official artwork. Local artist and founder of Elemental Digital Art (EDA Surf), Sean D. Ruttkay’s piece “Sea of Spring” was unveiled at a special event on Thursday, October 27. “As the North Carolina Azalea Festival is the most visually spectacular spring celebration in the nation, it is an incredible honor to be assigned to create the official art for the event,” said Ruttkay. “This opportunity of a lifetime is incredible, and I intend on delivering memorable work that represents the magnitude of this Festival that is so important to our state.”The official unveiling and artist selection also marks the beginning of a special festival contest and this year there is an added element. The North Carolina Azalea Festival children’s art contest is open to public, private, and home-schooled elementary and middle school students in grades K-8. Student artists are asked to illustrate the traditions of the North Carolina Azalea Festival that mean the most to them.New for 2017 organizers have added a writing contest for older students in high school. Student writers are asked to share how the North Carolina Azalea Festival contributes to or enhances the community of Wilmington, NC.All rules for student submissions and information about the festival can be found at: ncazaleafestival.orgThe 70th North Carolina Azalea Festival dates are April 5-9, 2017.
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