Azaleas bloom, visitors flock to 2 ETX cities - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Azaleas bloom, visitors flock to 2 ETX cities

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Spring is officially here, and in East Texas, that means it's gardening season.

And nothing says gardening, or beauty, quite like azaleas.

Tyler is celebrating its 53rd Azalea and Spring Flower Trail and Nacogdoches is celebrating its 14th Azalea Trail, and for many people from all over the world, it just wouldn't be spring without the beautiful azaleas that grow right here in our own back yard.

"It is a huge event that brings lots of people. Over 100,000 visitors every year come to see the azaleas. And they come from all over. Not just Dallas, Fort Worth, yes a lot of people come from there, but they come from all over the United States," said Susan Travis of the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"For the next several weeks, we have people coming in every week. We usually get about 5,000 visitors for the whole azalea trail season," said Lindsey Mathews of the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The azaleas first came to Tyler in 1929, thanks to a man named Maurice Shamburger.

"He found out that azaleas did really well here, so he had them shipped by the boxcar-load to Tyler, and so that's why many of the azaleas that you see here are 50, 60 years old," Travis said.

In both Tyler and Nacogdoches, the trails are more than just flowers. These weeks are full of events for the whole family.

"There's a little princess tea party, farmer's market, spring fling, the Main Street Shop and Stroll, and our all new event, the Azalea 10K Running of the Blooms," Mathews said.

In tyler, one of the main attractions of the trail is the Azalea Belles.

"They actually are volunteers and they just dress up on the weekends and they stand there and greet visitors and talk to them and tell them about things to do in Tyler and they're really just a great ambassador for our city," Travis said.

The trails bring in millions of dollars in revenue for Tyler and Nacogdoches, and both cities are happy to share their azaleas with the rest of the world.

"For that short period of time, that 2 to 3 week period that we have them, it's just beautiful," Travis said.

If you'd like to celebrate in either Tyler or Nacogdoches, there are plenty of events still left.

You can visit www.tylerazaleatrail.com or www.azaleas.visitnacogdoches.org to learn about everything that's going on.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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