Azalea Festival: Event showcases Valdosta, Lowndes County

Azalea Festival: Event showcases Valdosta, Lowndes County

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VALDOSTA — Shopping, food, entertainment and pets were plentiful at Drexel Park this weekend during the 18th Annual Azalea Festival. 

The Azalea Festival was held March 10-11 and featured more than 200 vendors, mechanical bull rides, chances to be up close and personal with birds of prey and Frisbee-catching dog performances. 

Among the canine athletes performing with Disc-Connected K9s was festival veteran Easy Rider, a 13-year-old border collie that could still catch Frisbees with skill. Easy Rider has performed at the Azalea Festival all 10 years that Disc-Connected K9s has attended, said Lawrence Fredrick, a team member with Disc-Connected K9s. 

Even though his back left leg is lame, Easy Rider has been a world Frisbee dog finalist five times. Due to his age, this was Easy Rider’s last show in Valdosta, Frederick said. 

Fredrick said this year’s performance at the Azalea Festival was dedicated to the memory of Harley Davidson, a Disc-Connected K9 dog that passed away in the past week. Harley Davidson was a three-time world champion, Frederick said. 

All Disc-Connected K9 dogs are rescues, and all but one of the dogs had competed in the world finals, Frederick said.

Of course, the Azalea Festival bore its own doggy champions with the BARC Pet Contest March 10. Among those winners was 3-year-old Australian shepherd Tucker, taking home the most obedient award. 

Tucker’s owner, Tori Buzhardt, 25, said she entered Tucker in the contest after BARC volunteers encouraged her to participate. She said it seemed like Tucker enjoyed the festival. 

“He likes all the attention,” she said. 

The festival’s large KidZone featured bounce houses, carnival-style games and pony rides. Scarlett, 3, and Ramsey, 1, accompanied by parents Jacob and Genevieve Davidson, took part in the pony rides. 

Jacob Davidson said the main reason the family attended the Azalea Festival was for the KidZone. He said he thought the festival was good for the kids because it offered “old-fashioned fun.” 

Azalea Festival Executive Director Aaron Strickland said the festival showcased the best that South Georgia has to offer. He said it’s something people look forward to each year. 

The 2018 Azalea Festival is the second one held since the passing of Joanne Griner, festival founder and original director.  

Kimberly Cannon is a Reporter with The Valdosta Daily Times. Her extension is 1376.

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About Craig Ballantyne 17859 Articles
I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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