One could debate whether Charleston (located on Interstate 57 about two and half hours south of St. Louis), Missouri, is part of the South, but there’s no dispute that each spring it embodies a distinctly Southern charm, appearance, and hospitality during the annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival. In its 46th year, the festival will be held April 10–13, 2014, in Charleston, which is located where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet at the top of the bootheel of southeast Missouri.
While magnificent dogwoods and azaleas in bloom are the stars of the festival, there’s a whole constellation of activities to enjoy. Visitors may wish to start with the six-mile Dogwood-Azalea Trail, marked by the pink center lines down the city streets This trail travels through Charleston and past beautiful Victorian homes surrounded by lovely gardens. You can tour the tree-lined streets in a horse-drawn carriage on Saturday.
Throughout the festival, a carnival will be set up with rides and games. There will be arts and crafts, food booths, and live entertainment at the Dr. E Charles Rowling Park. Among the other highlights will be a parade, art show, home and church tours, a fish fry, motorcycle show, dog show, an old-fashioned ice cream social, pig races, a plant sale, antique tractor show, candlelight tours, a Texas Rangers living history encampment, a quilt show, and piano concerts.
For more information, call (573) 683-6509 or visit www.charlestonmo.org/festival
Written by Karen Teeters of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.