WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

The North Carolina Azalea Festival has announced the 2018 Queen Azalea and some of the invited guests for the upcoming fest in Wilmington.

Beth Troutman, an Emmy award-winning television personality and motivational speaker, is Queen Azalea, according to a news release sent Monday night. Troutman, a North Carolina native who graduated from the University of North Carolina, has hosted local and nationally syndicated TV shows and has appeared on The Today Show, Extra, Good Day New York and more.

At age 27, Troutman became the first woman to run for Congress in North Carolina’s eighth Congressional district. After losing the election, Troutman was offered a job as host of the morning TV show FOX News Rising and for FOX, Troutman covered politics, pop culture and was a red carpet correspondent during three popular seasons of American Idol.

In 2011, Troutman helped launch Right This Minute, a nationally syndicated show she hosted that aired in more than 200 U.S. markets.

In 2015, Troutman returned to NC to be the lead anchor of NBC Charlotte’s evening newscasts.

She also provided live Summer Olympics coverage from Rio de Janeiro in 2016, hosted the Sunday political show Flashpoint and most recently provided aid and support for children in Haiti while living in an orphanage there. A series of short documentaries Troutman shot in Haiti recently earned her a pair of Emmy awards.    

Invited guests for the Azalea Festival, scheduled for April 11-15, include:

  • Victoria Huggins, Miss North Carolina 2017
  • Vivian Howard, Chef at Chef and the Farmer and star of A Chef’s Life on PBS
  • Adrian Wood, writer

Huggins was a morning news producer and report for WECT/WSFX before being crowned the 80th Miss North Carolina on June 24, 2017, and she hopes to be a political analyst for a national network.

Howard won a James Beard Foundation award for Best Television Personality after being a semifinalist in the Best Chef Southeast competition four times. In addition to Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, Howard and her husband Ben Knight opened Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington in December 2017.

Wood grew up in Rocky Mount and lives with her husband Thomas and their four kids in Edenton. Her blog, Tales of an Educated Debutante, has several million page views per month.

Click here for more information on the Azalea Festival.

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