Wilmington has celebrated its Azalea Festival since 1948, when the azaleas open with red, purple, pink, white, and orange colors. This is the time when the Azalea Belles appear as part of the festival. This is a group of 137 young women wearing period costumes of the Old South. Each woman receives a handmade hoop dress, frilly gloves, and a parasol. Bass describes what is required of the Belles during the festival.