The Curry Coastal Pilot

Dozens of events fill the community this weekend for the 72nd Azalea Festival, and they will draw thousands of visitors to the community. Despite this year's cold, wet spring, the wild azaleas are blooming and fragrant in Azalea Park. And though the sunshine seems to be a few days off schedule, this weekend marks the start of summer.

In so many ways, the Azalea Festival is a celebration of small-town American life.

First, it has its roots in traditions. While the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce selects a theme, organizes the parade and sets up the downtown street market, almost every other event happens out of its own inertia. From the library book sale to the Memorial Day ceremony, each organizing group knows its place in the scheme of things, relies on its own volunteers, and makes its own arrangements.

Many of those activities are run by groups based in friendship. The volunteers and participants come together based in their mutual interests. All the special shows and events are a showcase and social occasion for groups like the Quilters Guild, the Garden Club, the Curry County Cruisers, the Elks, the Art Association, the Masons, the South Coast Fisherman, and many more.

Because of that, events come and go. There used to be a huge square dance that was part of the Azalea Festival, and more recently, a craft market. This year's festival features relatively new car shows and an enhanced Party at the Port.

Because every event is so social, it's natural for friends and family to come visit over the three-day weekend, creating a reunion atmosphere andndash; including high school reunions.

So no matter the weather or the pile of undone chores in your life, spend some time this weekend reconnecting with the community by taking in some Azalea Festival events. This is small-town America at its finest.