The Azalea Trail Maids
As the brilliant red and pink Azalea flowers of March fade into April’s rain, let’s not forget our very own Trail maids have just been selected and will continue to add to the story of Mobile, the Azalea City…
The Azalea Trail maids are fifty Mobile County, Alabama high school senior girls chosen for their poise and personality. Over a thousand high school junior girls compete for the titles and thousands of dollars are spent on the design and creation of the colorful antebellum hoop dresses that these Trail Maids wear.
The Trail Queen wears the only pink dress. The other colors — green, yellow, blue, lavender, and peach — are taken as suggestions from the maids but the judges ultimately decide the colors that each girl wears.
These good-will ambassadors have been representing Mobile, Alabama since 1929, when Sam Lackland, a horticulturalist proposed the planting of brightly colored azalea bushes along tourist routes in Alabama to attract even more attention. Originally a court of 10 maids, today’s court of 50 travel Alabama and the nation appearing in parades and high profile civic events.
Recently the Trail Maids tradition has been criticized for its perceived promotion of racism and the Confederate state through the promotion of the Southern Belle image.
For now the tradition holds in the beauty of flowers translated to costume.