Tulip Festivals: Celebrate Spring with Colorful Flowers
Tulips Herald the Arrival of Spring
Ready for winter to be over? Spring fever gets into high gear when tulips start emerging.
Of all the spring bulb flowers, tulips are my favorite. Blooming in a multitude of colors, some solid and others tipped with contrasting hues, tulips are a "warm up" act for summer garden beauties, including the hybrid tea rose.
Although tulips are described at times as a perinneal flower, the bulbs usually exhaust within two years. If you get more than two seasons of tulips from the same bulbs, consider yourself lucky. Not only are the flowers ephemeral, but they also require advance planning two seasons ahead. Each bulb must be planted in the fall, at the proper depth, with appropriate soil and feed if you are going to enjoy a spring tulip garden.
Across the Northern Hemisphere, there are a number of tulip festivals that help visitors celebrate the arrival of spring. Of course, the cheery spring flowers are the centerpiece of the show, but throw in a few parades, music and art work, and its no wonder people from all over flock to tulip festivals each year in April and May.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
My first visit to a tulip festival was to the famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, about 1 hour north of Seattle, Washington, or 1 1/2 hours south of Vancouver, B.C., adjacent to the town of Mt. Vernon, Washington. Driving along Interstate-5, you cannot help but witness the unending blankets of colors in varying shades that stretch for miles. The official tulip festival lasts throughout the month of April, but after a mild winter, you may just enjoy some early blooms, too!
If you travel to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, be sure to bring a camera, as well as boots and an umbrella. April showers in this region are frequent and fields can be muddy. Make arrangements ahead of your visit for taking a shuttle bus, or carpooling. Parking can be difficult to find nearby. Over 1 million visitors make the trip to see the famous tulips here.
This tulip festival is one of the best known in the entire Pacific Northwest and is a popular tourist destination. Plan on an entire day for your excursion - its well worth it!
The Skagit Valley, Washington Tulip Festival is one of my favorites
Holland, Michigan Tulip Time Festival
Michigan is a bit colder than Washington State. So, the annual tulip festival in the aptly-named Holland, Michigan, is scheduled for the second week in May, when the days are longer and the tulips have decided to emerge from the ground in full color.
The Tulip Time Festival is a local celebration of Dutch heritage and culture, which includes - of course - blooming tulips!
According to its website, the festival is:
“a multi-generational event that has a little bit of something for everyone including; 3 amazing parades, multiple Dutch Dance performances, concerts, theatre, Dutch attractions, Dutch food, children’s events, trolley tours and so much more.”
Visitors suggest that you don't just visit the Tulip Time Festival for the day. Holland, Michigan is steeped in Dutch heritage for all ages to enjoy. There's a Dutch Village family theme park, a Wooden Shoe factory, Windmill Island Gardens, and the Holland Museum and Dutch Galleries.
The Tulip Time Festival only lasts one week, so be sure to plan ahead so you don't miss the fun.
Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan
Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa
Also in late May, you can attend the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa. Join with locals to celebrate Dutch heritage and take part in classic small town Americana. That's right - just three short days to tiptoe through the tulips here.
Beyond the beautiful bulbs, you can enjoy parades each day, marvel at classic Dutch costumes, and head to the carnival. In fact, the festival has been named one of North America's 100 Best Events!
Here's what the official website promises:
Festivities include music and dancing by hundreds of children and adults in intricate authentic costumes, two daily parades featuring top area marching bands, nightly musical theatre, a carnival midway, fun ethnic food treats, plus thousands of tulips and a dozen reproduction windmills throughout a charming village
Once again, you'll want to book early… the town expects 100,000 visitors to the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa!
Pella Tulip Time
If you can’t make it to Orange City, then consider heading to Pella, Iowa for Pella Tulip Time, in early May. Like Orange City, Pella is a historic town with Dutch roots. Learn about Dutch traditions, while you're enjoying fields of tulips and much more.
In fact, each of the three festival days, there are 6 parades (3 in the morning and 3 in the evening). Talk about celebrating big!
Immerse yourself in the old-world charm of the Netherlands as you stroll along our brick streets visiting our Dutch storybook storefronts, the Molengracht canal, and our authentic 1850′s working windmill. Don’t miss the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp in the Pella Historical Village.
Here's a fun trivia fact if you head to Pella this year: The town is the site of an impressive Guinness World Record: 2605 dancers in wooden shoes!
Tulip Festival Parade in Pella, Iowa
Albany Tulip Festival
Another popular May tulip festival is a free event in Albany New York. Plan a quick weekend in May, because this festival only lasts a weekend. If you attend, you can see over 200,000 tulips in Washington Park at the Tulip Festival of Albany, New York.
The Albany Tulip Festival features more than 140 different types of tulips, as well as art exhibits, live music and other entertainment. The festival takes place in the oldest Dutch settlement in America.
Canadian Tulip Festival
The Canadian Tulip Festival, unlike some of the other events highlighted in this hub, lasts the better part of the entire month of May. The celebration is part of the anniversary festivities to honor Canada’s assistance in liberating the Netherlands. Held in Ottawa, Canada, the festival includes a tulip tour, an evening ball (proceeds to benefit clean water projects in Africa) and a ceremony honoring Canadian veterans.
More than 300,000 tulips bloom in Commissioner’s Park during the festival. Enjoy the flowers, listen to musical performances and celebrate along with locals and tourists alike!
Spalding Flower Festival and Spring Fair, UK
Looking for a tulip festival in the UK? Head to the annual Spalding Flower Festival and Spring Fair, which takes place over three days in late April to early May. The event is held in Spalding, Lincolnshire, England, which is is considered to be the bulb growing area of the UK.
The three day extravaganza includes carnival floats, spring flowers (tulips and more), marching bands, markets and a country fair.
For more information: Tel: 01775 724843 or email email@example.com
10 Million Tulips in a Single Garden in Kashmir
Tulip Time Festival in Belle Plaine, Kansas
Back in the U.S.A., its almost time for the Tulip Time Festival in Belle Plaine, Kansas.
Another free event that celebrates the arrival of spring with gorgeous blooms, a parade, carnival, car show and much more. This tulip festival is one of just a few that takes place in April.
There is also a talent show, youth street dance, arts and crafts fair and plenty of food and entertainment. Lots of fun for all ages!
This festival has been an event for nearly 30 years!
Dutch Days Tulip Festival in Fulton, Illinois
There are so many tulip festivals and spring celebrations in the United States! Another Midwest-based celebration is Dutch Days in Fulton, Illinois, held each year on first weekend in May. The 2-day festival in early May features cheery tulips, and celebrates the Dutch heritage of the small town.
Enjoy fields of tulips, watch Dutch dancing, take windmill tours, see a Dutch treasures collection and check out the quilt show. But you only have a weekend to fit on all the fun!
A parade, fun run and Early American Crafters presentation are also part of Dutch Days!
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest Woodburn, Oregon
We are coming full circle with this tulip festival tour, back to the Pacific Northwest. While not quite the scale of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington, Oregon has a fairly impressive showing at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest in Woodburn, Oregon. About 20 minutes south of Portland, the festival showcases more than 40 acres of fields in bloom, and offers visitors the chance to buy their own bulbs to enjoy in their home garden.
We particularly love this tulip festival because it lasts 6 weeks, from late March until early May.
The tulip festival also includes wine tasting, pony rides for kids, authentic wooden shoe making and photography classes. It seems quite appropriate that there are contests for the best umbrella, as well.
Considering all the beautiful tulips that emerge as a result of the rain each spring, the April showers may seem a bit more welcome.
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