Tulip Time Festival

Tulip Time Festival
Photo: tuliptime.com
Tulip festivals are held in many cities around the United States that were founded or largely inhabited by Dutch settlers. One of the largest and most famous festivals of this kind is held in the city of Holland, Michigan. It is called the Tulip Time Festival.

The history of the festival began in 1927 when biology teacher Lida Rogers suggested Holland adopt the tulip as its official flower due to the city’s close ties with the Netherlands (Holland was founded in the mid-19th century by Dutch Calvinist separatists). A year later, 100,000 tulip bulbs were imported from the Netherlands and planted in city parks.

In 1929, Holland invited tourists to come enjoy the view of blossoming tulips. The success of this endeavor encouraged the city council to create an annual festival. The Tulip Town Festival officially began in 1930 when 250,000 tulips were planted for the event.

Over the years, Tulip Time has become the third largest town festival in the United States as well as America’s best small town festival (according to Reader’s Digest). Held during the second week of May (typically from the first Saturday through the second Saturday), it attracts about 1 million visitors.

The Tulip Time festival features a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. They include three parades, various concerts and shows, klompen dancing, street scrubbing, a craft fair, a Dutch Market, and firework displays.

The festival parades are among the largest and most spectacular events in Michigan. The People’s Parade (Volksparade) features thousands of local citizens dressed in Dutch costumes, marching bands, dancers, and floats. The parade is preceded by the official Street Scrubbing. The Children’s Parade (Kinderparade) features more than 7,000 schoolchildren dressed in Dutch costumes. Finally, the Music Parade (Muziekparade) features marching bands, dancers and elaborate floats. With over 170 units and 4,000 participants, it has the longest parade route in Michigan.

Other shows and experiences featured in the festival program include numerous concerts, workshops and masterclasses, traditional Dutch dances (a series of performances which are approximately 5–15 minutes long), a showcase of traditional Dutch costumes, trolley tours, expos and exhibitions, carnivals, fairs, Tulip Time Run, and more. And of course there are nearly 4.5 million tulips in city parks and along the streets of Holland.

Tulip Time Festival

Photo: jmanussier




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