Parade and Pig Race: Inside the Dogwood-Azalea Festival

Swine Race: Photo Courtesy of Charleston WebsiteThe Dogwood-Azalea Festival is more than just flowers. The Charleston Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, and Charleston's civic groups offer an array of unique events designed for the recreation and entertainment of all ages.


While the festival officially kicks off on Thursday, April 14, one of the most popular days to attend the festival is on Saturday, starting with the festival parade along Commercial St. The parade is one of the largest in the areas, with floats, flowers, and costumes filling the streets. The best part is that there is no registration fee to enter, meaning anyone with a little creativity and a fun spirit can be a part of the parade.

After the parade, it’s time to visit the carnival! Located on E. Marshall St. the carnival runs all weekend long. Go in the afternoon, or enjoy the lights in the evening. Fly, loop, and cheer your way through all the classic carnival rides.  

Another of the festival’s favorite and most unique event are the Swine Races. Pigs take to the track to show off their speed while patrons can cheer for their favorite to win. "There's nothing like watching those little - and not so little - porkers run!" said Charleston resident Tracy Parr Johnson. The race track is right next to the Phillip’s Exotic Animal Petting Zoo where everyone can visit with, and feed the animals.

While you’re there step across the street to Rolwing Park for live music, the arts and crafts show, and the fried pie eating contest - see who can eat three fried apple pies the fastest. Hang around the park, because at 4 p.m. is the Kiwanis Club Dog Show! Dogs of all breeds will be showing off their tricks and pedigree in the most entertaining dog show the area has to offer.

When it comes time for dinner be sure to go to the Kiwanis Club Fish Fry at Charleston High School.  Follow that with the ice cream social at the Masonic Lodge where you can relax and enjoy a sweet treat the old fashioned way with a delicious ice cream!

These events and more will all be happening at the 48th Annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival. See the complete schedule on their website, and plan for a full weekend of fun and entertainment.

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