Page 76

2015-2

Azalea Belles selected for the 63rd annual N.C. Azalea Festival gather for the Cape Fear Garden Club’s Azalea Belle Tea March 28, 2010. Instead, there was a pizza party and everyone was sitting around in this hotel room looking around awkwardly. Brittany and I started comparing bad pick-up lines.” Brittany continues, “He asked me, ‘How much does a polar bear weigh?’ ‘How much?’ ‘Enough to break the ice.’” “She laughed, so I knew something was there,” Barclay says. “She was the clear winner of the group, in terms of personality,” he adds. “I’ll admit that I found him very attractive when I first saw him,” Brittany says, laughing. Barclay, originally from Texas, was graduating from The Citadel that May. “At our wedding rehearsal dinner in July 2013 my mom said, ‘We almost got him back. One month. And then he met Brittany!’” he says. Barclay moved back to Texas after graduating, but only made it until October, when he returned to the east, moving to North Carolina. He proposed at Airlie Gardens October 6, 2012. “There was a wedding in the Pergola Garden. I had to stall until they left. I wanted to ask her to marry me right in front of the fountain there,” Barclay says. “We go back to the Azalea Festival every year,” Brittany says. “We celebrate it almost more than our wedding anniversary.” The two welcomed a baby girl, Margaret, in September 2014. Brittany continues, “When I was going through college thinking about the person I was going to marry, I wanted a story I would be happy to tell my grandkids someday. And I feel like we have that.” The Azalea Festival is an intense five days, so the queens and cadets have a chance to get to know each other well. Falling in love among the flowers means lengthy conversations instead of abbreviated texts, and chaperoned, civilized evenings with a group instead of rowdy nights at a bar. Beth Bell says sometimes you can see a match happening right before your eyes. “It’s fun to watch that develop,” Bell says. “There have been several engagements. Many of the queens and cadets stay in touch after the event, and often the cadets go to the Miss North Carolina pageant to support the queens. One year, one of the Queen’s Court members became Miss North Carolina. She fell in love with her cadet and he proposed to her the following year at the Patrons’ Party.” There are at least eight couples that have made it all the way to the altar, Bell says. Ashanti Jackson, a member of the Queen’s Court in 2006, married her cadet, Terrance Jackson, in 2009. Nobody was more surprised at that turn of events than she was. Or maybe her mother. “I’m one of those people who says, ‘I’ll never get married. Nope, not me,’” Ashanti says. She talked to her mother after the festival. “Mom, you know Terrance is someone I could see myself mar-ried to,” Ashanti says she told her mother. Mom says, “I never thought that would happen.” It almost didn’t. Terrance recounted the haphazard and random way he ended up at the festival. “I was sitting outside one day, maybe a week before the festival, and my company commander approached me and asked if I was interested in going up to Wilmington,” Terrance says. “We would get emails about things like that all of the time, and we would mostly just blow them off. Little did I know that it would end up being one of the most amazing times of my life.” Ashanti is a full-time writer working on her fifth degree, a PhD 76 WBM february 2015 WBM FILE PHOTO


2015-2
To see the actual publication please follow the link above