Nacogdoches Azalea Trail set

NACOGDOCHES – The thirteenth annual Nacogdoches Azalea Trail will usher in springtime in East Texas March 12-April 2, 2011 with a mixed bouquet of new events and mainstay favorites.

As always, the centerpiece of the Azalea Trail will be the 25 miles of self-guided driving routes that meander through the city and include the stunning Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden – the largest in the state of Texas.

Each trail begins at the Visitor Center, located at 200 E. Main St. in historic downtown Nacogdoches. Color-coded signs mark the routes, and maps are available at the Visitor Center. Nacogdoches, "The Oldest Town in Texas," is located about 150 miles north of Houston via U.S. Hwy. 59.

Every weekend of the Azalea Trail will also feature at least one special event, including a floral design exhibit, photography show, symposium and everyone's favorite the "Little Princess" garden party.

"The excitement surrounding our Azalea Trail is really building as we make final plans for the special events and our residents prepare their gardens for the azaleas' big annual debut," said Melissa Sanford, executive director of the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Azalea Trail will officially be kicked off with the annual Azalea Trail Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 12 at the SFA Agriculture Building. The symposium focuses on the unique features of deciduous azaleas and how to use them to best effect in home landscapes.

The horticultural and artistic talents of local gardening enthusiasts will be on display at a floral design exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, 329 E. Main St. Unique floral arrangements featuring azaleas and other native plants will be included in the exhibit.

Entries in the fifth annual Azalea Trail Photography Show will be on display from 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, March 22-April 2, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, 329 E. Main Street. The contest is sponsored by the Daily Sentinel and judged and exhibited by the Nacogdoches Photography Club. For more contest information, call 936-564-7351 or 888-OLDEST-TOWN.

The "Little Princess" Garden Party in the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden returns this year. Introduce your favorite little princess (or prince) to the beauty and joy of the garden at its most splendid time of year. Dress her up in her favorite princess or garden party outfit to enjoy refreshments, party favors, entertainment and crafts. Don't forget your camera!

The party will take place Saturday, March 26th.  Tickets are required and cost $20. Seating is limited. Come by the Visitor Center, 200 E. Main, to get your tickets or call the CVB at 936-564-7351 for more information.

Downtown Nacogdoches will be abuzz this year during the 2011 Azalea Trail. The Main Street Sidewalk Sale will take place Saturday, March 19th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Downtown stores will be offering a variety of unique finds, great deals, and specialty items all right at your fingertips. First Friday Nights will be held on Friday, April 1st, where shoppers can shop late from 6 to 8 p.m. at participating downtown stores. Visitors can also enjoy a car show and live entertainment.

Hundreds of "Bugs" will invade Nacogdoches on Saturday, March 26th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the annual "A Blooming Good Volkswagen Show" in downtown Festival Plaza. Admission is free but donations are accepted. Be sure to stop by the Farmer's Market on Saturday, April 2 for Spring Fling Saturday! Join the Farmer's Market as they kick off spring in Texas' Oldest Town with live entertainment, children's activities, a variety of wonderful vendors, and much, much more!

For more information about Azalea Trail events or to schedule a group tour, call the CVB at 936-564-7351 or 888-OLDEST-TOWN, log onto, or be our friend on facebook @ Nacogdoches Azalea Trail.