Let 1,000 azaleas bloom across Takoma Park

Azalea Awards: This ain’t no flower show.


The Azalea Awards showcase hardy perennials of the human variety. It’s a celebration of the people who put the “Takoma” in Takoma Park (“Takoma” being the term, from a long lost language, meaning, “high up near heaven,” “exalted being,” or “awesome dude”–the exact translation is unclear).

Once again, the Takoma Voice and the Takoma Foundation are teaming up to recognize the heroes among us in Takoma Park.  On May 15, winners will receive the much-coveted ceramic plaque designed by Takoma Park artisan John Hume. More importantly, they will receive much deserved public acclaim and a moment on the red carpet.

This will be the 6th Azalea Awards ceremony. The first was held in 1997. The ceremony was reprised in 2006 and has since become an annual event–the Takoma Park party of the year.

Following a pizza reception, this year’s Azalea Awards in the newly restored Takoma Park council chambers and auditorium. This event is open to the whole family. The Takoma Voice requests that all attendees wear suitable attire–casual, formal, or madcap, you decide.

Roots rocker Joe Uehlein and his Uliners will provide entertainment throughout the lively ceremony. Besides the bestowing of Azalea Awards, the Takoma Foundation will recognize recent grant recipients and make a pitch for funds. Please come prepared to make a donation to this worthy Takoma Park organization.

As in previous years, you are invited to review the following nominees and cast a vote for those who make you glad that you live in Takoma Park. For the first time ever, we will be using Instant Run-off Voting to determine the winners, meaning that voters cast ballots for their first and second choices. This way, the winner is guaranteed to have received a majority of votes. You can go to www.takoma.com/forms/azalea_vote.html to cast your ballot for the following nominees:

Takoma Spirit

  • William Brown
  • Darhyl Lyons
  • Eric Mendoza and Tim Cooper
  • Takoma Park JazzFest
  • Takoma Zone

Volunteer Superhero

  • Dorothy Barnes
  • Wolfgang Mergner
  • Scott Mitchell
  •  Michelle Morgan
  •  Susanna Shapiro


  • Nadine Bloch
  • Casa of Maryland
  • Denise Jones
  • Jay Levy
  • Rob Richie and Cynthia Terrell

Business Leader

  • Sara Daines and Ilana Blanchard (the New Avenue)
  • Chris and Nadol Hishmeh (Olive Lounge)
  • Jeanne and Dennis Ha (Park Florist)
  • Tori Paide (Still Point)
  •  Lisa Ripken (Fair Day’s Play)
  •  Ada Villatoro (El Golfo)

Green Takoma

  • Alan Abrams
  • Jim Baird
  • Steve Davies
  • Jim Epstein
  • Sandra Nitchie
  • Catherine Tunis
  • Mike Welsh

Arts Leader

  • A Salon
  • Chopteeth
  • Charlie Pilzer
  • Alice Sims, Arturo Ho, and Laurie Stepp
  • Joe Uehlein


  • Sara Bodde
  • Leila Campbell
  • Kristin Dunlap
  • Abby Golden
  • Terri Reed

School Activist

  • Lucy Neher
  • Nicole Pauls
  • Rosa Sanchez
  • Sally Taber


  • Bob Antonisse
  • Roy Austin
  • Ernesto Campos
  • Cindy Dyballa
  • Josh Lott
  • Andrew Partan
  • Joe Temenak
  • Sean Tipton


  • Dave Burbank
  • Chris Colvin
  • Pat Rumbaugh
  • Phil Shapiro
  • Joan Samworth

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About the Author

Eric Bond
Eric Bond is the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Voice.