Graceful Greeters: Azalea Belles welcome visitors to the Azalea and Spring Flower Trail

Published on Saturday, 8 March 2014 20:46 - Written by Special to the Tyler Morning Telegraph

The Azalea and Spring Flower Trail is celebrating 55 years of blooms. The 10-mile driving tour featuring home gardens filled with azaleas, dogwoods, tulips, wisteria and redbuds is scheduled for March 21 through April 6. The tour begins at South Broadway Avenue and Houston Street.

Each weekend of the trail, Azalea Belles, dressed in antebellum-style fashion, will serve as official greeters. This is the 50th anniversary for having these ambassadors.

Azalea Belles were chosen from Chapel Hill, Robert E. Lee, John Tyler, Whitehouse and Lindale high schools, Grace Community, King’s Academy, Brook Hill, East Texas Christian Academy and home-schooling families in the area.

As part of their application, each responded to the question: “What Does Tyler Mean to You?” Below are a portion of their responses.

Viola Amphy — “Tyler, to me, is a place full of culture. It’s a place for old-school values, and it’s made up of traditions. Being from California, originally, I am not used to these traditions and I would love to learn more about them!”

Bethany Baber — “Tyler provides many tourist attractions, such as the Rose Garden and Azalea Trail. Growing up, I especially enjoyed the Caldwell Zoo, Brookshire’s Museum and Play Park, the Goodman Museum and the many parades and festivals.”

Breanna Bell — “Tyler holds some of my best childhood memories. We lived in Palestine when I was younger, and Tyler was one of my favorite places to go, especially Discovery Science Place. I always had the best time there and never got tired of it!”

Bailey Bickerstaff — “Having been an Azalea Belle last year, Tyler has a different meaning to me after representing it. Tyler means beauty and family to me. Tyler is so beautiful, with its roses, azaleas and old-time charm, and the residents are always friendly and warm-hearted to Tylerlites and visitors alike”

Brittany Brown — “I moved to the area in sixth grade. I didn’t like it at first, but as time went on, I began to really like it here. I’d like to promote Tyler and Smith County and hopefully the future newcomers will have a wonderful first impression. Being an Azalea Belle will help me achieve that.”

Laura Clayton — “The first thing that comes to mind is home. I love the size of Tyler and admire all the possibilities it offers. It’s large enough to have anything you need, but small enough to still have a small-town feel.”

Sloan Coffey — “Tyler means my home, a place where I am loved and a place I love. Tyler means a loving community; one that comes together. Tyler means the place I first held my brothers, the Rose Garden I walked through and the church where I was baptized.”

Caitlyn Cox — “Tyler means beautiful nature, wildlife, flowers, great places to shop and dine and very friendly, hospitable people. Tyler has a small-town feel, but with all the amenities of a bigger city. Tyler is where I have lived my entire life and most importantly, Tyler is home.”

Chelsea Dingler — “Tyler means a lot to me because I’ve lived here all my life. Tyler is very popular for our Azalea Trails and our roses. We have a very beautiful city. I’m proud to call Tyler my hometown.”

Kayla Edge — “Tyler means home to me. I have lived in Tyler for most of my life. I love the community in Tyler because of people’s hospitality. I love serving others, especially in the Tyler area. Tyler is the perfect place for anyone to live.”

Sarah English — “To me, Tyler is home. I was born and raised in Tyler, Texas. The small town feels comforting yet also has some of the big city benefits. I am proud to be a citizen of Tyler, especially when the extravagant events take place, such as the Texas Rose Festival.”

Kara Fenton — “I have lived in the Tyler area all my life and have always thought of it as a beautiful and friendly city. I am also thrilled it is the Rose Capital of the Nation. I am excited about having the opportunity to represent the city in a positive way!”

Rebekah Flanders — “I love the fact that my hometown is so friendly and family-oriented. Some of my favorite places to go in Tyler include: Rose Rudman Trails, The Children’s Park, Brookshire’s Playground, Discovery Science Place, Tyler Public Library and Caldwell Zoo.”

Savannah Forsythe — “I was born in New Orleans and moved to Tyler when I was 2. Tyler is a totally different atmosphere. Being a Christian, it’s very important to me to be living in such a family focused, high morale, God-fearing town.”

Priscilla Gallegos — “Tyler, Texas, the city of Roses. I remember when I first moved here everything was so different. When I came here, I learned new things, met new people and grew to love reading. Tyler is my first home … the City of Roses.”

Ginnie Jeske — “Tyler means home to me. Since I’ve lived here all my life, many friends have become like family. Also, the city’s many attractions have given my family a chance to experience fun and to learn about the town’s history.”

Madison Jobe — “Tyler is a great place to live aside from the beautiful countryside. Mild weather, fun attractions and fresh air, Tyler attracts many wonderful people. These people put forth effort to make Tyler a better place.”

Keary Johnson — “Tyler means home and friends to me.”

Carley Jones — “Tyler is special to me because I was born and raised here. When I think of Tyler, roses, azaleas and Earl Campbell pop into my head. Tyler is my ‘home’ and will always have a special place in my heart.”

Haley Larsen — “Tyler has always been a huge part of my life. My Dad has lived here his whole life and this is the place where my parents met. I was also born here. I always loved Tyler and the things and places it has to offer.”

Becca Kelley — “My family moved to Tyler 2 1/2 years ago. Previously living in larger cities, like Houston, kept my attention with various activities, but with Tyler what keeps me busy are all of the little things that hold so many aspects of beauty, like the nature walks and flower gardens.”

Sarah Martinez — “I was not born in Tyler, but I am grateful that my family moved here. I could not imagine growing up anywhere else. Tyler is large enough to be the Rose Capital, yet small enough to hold that charm that will forever mean HOME.”

Catherine Miles — “The city of Tyler is one of beauty, integrity and a city of family qualities. When people ask me where I’m from, I am proud to say that I’m from Tyler.”

Faith Minnick — “When you hear people talk about Tyler, the first thing that comes to my mind is the home of the Tyler Rose. Growing up in Tyler, I always heard my grandparents talk about what an awesome athlete he was when they attended school. As I got older, I finally found out that Tyler was not only the home of Earl Campbell but that Tyler is known for Tyler Roses, as well.”

Madelyn Oney — “Tyler, the Rose Capital … it means impressive scenery, stunning Rose Gardens and a charming Azalea District. It means community involvement, Tyler Youth Orchestra and Voices of Faith choir. In essence, Tyler IS a rose … many distinctive parts brought together to form an extraordinary community.”

Anna Orr — “Tyler means beauty. The happiness and the people here make it beautiful. Tyler people have pride in our city. The citizens here care for one another and they come out and support the community in many events.”

Jenna Reddell — “Tyler, to me, will always be home and it is such an honor to me to represent my hometown in one of the most exciting ways ever! I love meeting new people!”

Darby Ritchie — “I have only been in the area for two years, but I have already grown to care about Tyler and Texas very much! Tyler has always seemed to me to be a very warm and welcoming city. My favorite part of Tyler would have to be the beautiful Rose Garden.”

Sara Scrocki — “I am proud to say I’m from Tyler, Texas. When I do, people smile and say, ‘You’re from the Rose Capital?’ Tyler is very beautiful and has beautiful roses and azaleas. Tyler means more to me than just a beautiful place to live. It means family, friends, great schools, home and love.”

Josie Taylor — “Because I’ve lived here all of my life, I am quite at home here. Even though Tyler has a lot to offer, it still feels like a close-knit community. It is a very beautiful place with the roses in the fall, the azaleas in the spring and the overall landscaping of the countryside. I think Tyler is one of the prettiest towns in East Texas.”

Katie Timme — “When I think of Tyler, I think of home. Although I have lived in a couple of other places before moving here, Tyler will always be my hometown. It feels like home because of its people. No matter where you go, people treat you like family.”

Lexi Timme — “To me, Tyler means beauty. Not only is the nature of this town so extraordinary, but also the people are equally as lovely. The azaleas that bloom in the spring are such a marvelous sight to see and the people that live here make you feel at home.”

Amaris Villapudua — “Tyler means home to me. Even though I was not born here or even raised here, it is the place that we have lived the longest. I am proud to be a part of Tyler, because it shows a strong and beautiful community where people come together to help one another and enjoy events.”