On Saturday, October 6, 2018, winning non-profits from across North Carolina came to Capitol Broadcasting’s transmitter site in Auburn to collect the plants each were awarded in the 33rd Annual WRAL Azalea Celebration. CBC distributed 5,000 azaleas to 126 groups from across the state.
The groups came from as far west as Boone and as far east as Wilmington.
“We had a very successful year, and distribution day, thanks to the hard work, planning, and organization of CBC’s Amy Trudo, and Jack Lamm,” said Corp Property Management Manager Tim Grissom, who coordinates the project.
NC Beautiful, an Azalea Celebration partner, helped on the day of distribution, providing volunteers from North Raleigh Christian School, Jordan High School, Thales Academy of Roseville, and Durham School of the Arts. The Durham School of the Arts sent a group of volunteers dubbed the “Homies,” which stands for “Helping Others Make Incredible Experiences at School.”
“We also had Chris Downey from FOX 50, and his wife, Bonnie, come out and volunteer to help load plants on the weekend,” said Grissom. “We truly appreciate all of the volunteers that showed up knowing that we could not make this happen without the help of others.”
The WRAL Azalea Celebration offers free azalea to non-profit groups anywhere in NC. Each group can receive up to 50 plants. An application period occurs for several months each summer. WRAL-TV, MIX 101.5 WRAL-FM, FOX 50, WRAL.com and NC Beautiful all partner on the celebration, which promotes environmental education, beautification and stewardship by awarding azalea plants to non-profits in North Carolina.
“The program affords these groups the opportunity to beautify their grounds, and often is a catalyst that propels these groups to take on other projects, and continue working to improve their sites,” said Grissom. “It’s great to see the young children that get involved, and have the opportunity to learn the environmental benefits of gardening, and growing plants.”
“It’s always fun to meet the different people as they come to pick up their plants, and talk with them about their gardening projects,” Grissom continued. “You can see how excited the groups are to receive the azaleas, and work on their gardening project.”
Three years after receiving the azaleas, each group become eligible for the annual A.J. Fletcher Award, named for the founder of Capitol Broadcasting and the WRAL Azalea Gardens. CBC awards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place to the groups that have done the best job of maintaining their plants during that time. Winners receive a cash prize and additional azaleas.
The 2018 A.J. Fletcher Award winners are:
- 1st Place – Spring Valley Elementary School – Durham, NC
- 2nd Place – Helping Horse Therapeutic Riding Program – Raleigh, NC
- 3rd Place – Sycamore Creek Elementary School – Raleigh, NC
Now in its 33rd year, the WRAL Azalea Celebration has distributed over 250,000 azaleas to thousands of non-profits across NC during those three decades.
Grissom is already excited about next year.
“As we put another Azalea Celebration behind us, we are working to cultivate the plants that will be distributed in 2019 for the 34th annual Azalea Celebration!”
Thanks to Corp’s Tim Grissom for these Capcom photos.