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Spring Fever

Honor Heights Park really shines in the spring when colors burst forth and vibrantly paint the area thanks in large part to the 30,000 blooming flowers that are a part of the Azalea Festival.

Article
Lindsey Mills
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
March 28, 2019

The sun seems to shine a little brighter, the temps are steadily rising, and when it rains there is a fresh scent of the new season wafting about. An abundance of color begins to stretch over a hillside in eastern Oklahoma.

As spring comes into full bloom, so do the azaleas at Honor Heights Park in Muskogee. This park, operated by the City of Muskogee and open to the public, sprawls over 132 acres and boasts over 625 varieties of azaleas. That’s a lot of flowers. In addition to the azaleas, this botanical garden is also home to many tulips and wisteria. Hues of pink, red, purple and gold spread across the park and transform it into the perfect backdrop for any special occasion or relaxing day off.

The park also offers a variety of trails, lakes, and ponds as well as a butterfly sanctuary and tree arboretum. There’s a playground, tennis and volleyball courts, and plenty of spacious lawns for the whole family to lounge or enjoy recreationally.

Originating in 1968, the Azalea Festival has been held annually and is responsible for the estimated 500,000 visitors in Muskogee this spring to enjoy the colorful array of flowers as well as the park’s dogwoods, redbuds, and other blooming plants.
Originating in 1968, the Azalea Festival has been held annually and is responsible for the estimated 500,000 visitors in Muskogee this spring to enjoy the colorful array of flowers as well as the park’s dogwoods, redbuds, and other blooming plants.

Open all year, the park really shines in the spring when colors burst forth and vibrantly paint the area. Each year the park celebrates this display of more than 30,000 blooming flowers by hosting events that are a part of the Azalea Festival.

The festival that begins in April will draw crowds from all over the world to partake in the celebration surrounding the bloom of these brilliant flowers.

Originating in 1968, the festival has been held annually and is responsible for the estimated 500,000 visitors in the town this spring to enjoy the colorful array of flowers as well as the park’s dogwoods, redbuds, and other blooming plants.

“I believe the reason the festival continues to grow each year is the Muskogee Community,” says Justin O’Neal, marketing manager for the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

As spring comes into full bloom, so do the azaleas at Honor Heights Park in Muskogee. (Photo: Marc Rains)
As spring comes into full bloom, so do the azaleas at Honor Heights Park in Muskogee. (Photo: Marc Rains)

“When people think of the Azalea Festival, they might think it is one committee putting on one event, but that is not how it works. Many organizations in Muskogee make the festival possible. So many community members are involved to make this festival happen and succeed.”

With such a spectacular natural event unfolding each spring, it’s easy to see why the whole town revs up to celebrate.

In 2019, the festival will continue the traditions from previous years as well as add new events to the lineup. Concerts, wine tastings, 5k runs, arts and crafts shows, car shows, living history days on a WW II submarine, and so much more are all on the schedule this year.

Cruise through the park in your car, on foot, or on a bicycle to take in the stunning nature. Stop for a picnic at one of the park’s many gazebos or picnic tables. Jog or bicycle around on a perfect spring day or make a day trip to attend one of the special events for delicious food and live entertainment.

“My favorite part about the Azalea Festival is the great amount of community pride that Muskogee shows for all of these events. Being able to share everything happening in Muskogee with people from all over the world really keeps the sense of community pride alive and blossoming, pun intended,” says O’Neal.

The festival is perfect for the entire family and offers ample opportunities to relax or get social. Visit the park to admire the flowers, snap some social media worthy pics, and then head into the town to enjoy a local restaurant.

This beautiful display of nature and the enjoyable events surrounding it are sure to make this festival one you want to return to each year, either to enjoy your favorite part all over again or try something new as the celebration continues to expand each year.

What sounds better than a day spent enjoying a beautiful park followed by delicious food and quality entertainment? We can’t think of anything. Grab your sunglasses, your picnic blanket and your favorite people, and head out to embrace spring.

LOCATOR
Azalea Festival
Honor Heights Park
visitmuskogee.com/azalea-festival

August 2019 Cover