In its 25th year, the springtime party has moved from Hay Street downtown to Festival Park. The city spent $10.4 million over the past decade to convert the former coal-gas plant site to a park.
"We have a new home, a new look and a whole new attitude about the whole festival," Dogwood Festival organizer Zack May said. "This has been about a 10-year project, between land acquisition and getting everything taken care of."
Still, many things about the festival haven't changed.
The local Crimestoppers Barbecue Fundraiser helped kick off the weekend's activities Friday afternoon, as it has for years.
"Dogwood and barbecue go together," barbecue vendor Willie Mouzon said. "Put some slaw on (a bun), then put some barbecue on it, then mash it together, and you call it, like, a jam sandwich."
The park was dedicated Friday night, followed by a concert featuring the Raleigh group Nantucket.
The festival continues Saturday and Sunday, with amusement rides, vendors and music.