Dogwood-Azalea Festival in full bloom

CHARLESTON, Mo. (KBSI) – Among the blooms that serve as its namesake, the Dogwood-Azalea Festival in Charleston continued with a flourish on Saturday.

“This is like a homecoming for the town. This is the time that everyone comes home,” said Cindy Amick, who was selling handmade signs at the festival. “It’s just a fun time for everyone to get together. The weather has been awesome, so it’s the perfect day for lots of fun.”

Amick said the festival’s social component keeps her coming back.

“Today I have met people from Illinois, Arkansas, and Kentucky, as well as Missouri,” she said. “That’s one of the things we like about getting out and doing this, that we meet so many people and make new friends. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

There was a steady flow of people purchasing handmade home décor from Becky Riney, a retired teacher from Jackson who started her own business 15 years ago.

“People love shopping and seeing your products, especially when they’re handmade,” she said. “I love helping people make their homes beautiful.”

Angela Green’s company, Green’s Goodies, sells handmade crafts and wreaths. Green was born and raised in Charleston but now lives in Texarkana, Texas.

“This is when everybody comes out. This is one of the biggest things they have every year,” Green said. “This just brings out everybody. I like to come back so I can see a lot of friends and family at the same time, and make a little money.”

So what’s the most popular sign that Amick sells from her stand?

“It says, ‘Welcome-ish. It depends on who you are and how long you stay.'”

This is maybe a hint of irony, because everyone is welcome at the Dogwood-Azalea Festival.

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