Azalea Festival In My City

I chose these images for Sunday in My City, a photo forum that has folks posting pictures on Sunday of their cities. To visit other cities, click on the button and link up with photos of your own town.

Goodness, gracious, it’s Sunday, y’all! Where does all the time go when you’re not blogging?  I have been playing hookey the past few weeks, but I’ve been snapping lots of photos. These are just a few I took at the annual Azalea Festival that is held here, in Wilmington, North Carolina every spring. It is a big southern-style party, complete with a parade, a street fair, fireworks, garden tours, a few celebrities and lots of pretty local girls dressed up like southern belles.

The whole thing is in celebration of the azalea, which blooms here in profusion, along with dogwood trees,

The parade always includes the marching cadets.

And a few colorful clowns. This one even had his poodle dyed to match the azaleas.

The local kids get in the act with lots of talent and loads of cuteness.

The azalea belles are in the parade…

And one of them appeared to be lost in the crowd.

The Story of the Dogwood Tree

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

We had our Annual Azalea Festival down here in Wilmington, North Carolina last week. It’s truly a breath-taking time of year when the flowers and trees are blooming. I love the dogwood tree’s white blossoms almost as much as I love the azaleas.

They always remind me of Easter, not only because they bloom this time of year, but because of the story that is told about them.

Do you see how the center of the flower looks like a tiny crown?

It is widely believed that the dogwood tree was the tree that was used to make the cross that Jesus died on. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree.

When Jesus saw that the tree was suffering from being used for such a hideous purpose, He changed the size and shape of the tree forever, causing it to grow crooked and bent and too slim to support the weight of a man. He also blessed it with the white blossoms that are shaped like a cross.

The petals are tinged with rust on the edges, to represent His blood-stained nail prints.

The center of the flower is said to be His crown of thorns, so that all who see the dogwood will pause and remember.

Simply Life Photographs is hosting a photo challenge called Flowers on Saturday. It is open for participants until Wednesday.  Click on the button to view more photos of flowers or enter one of your own.