Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley located in the northwestern corner of the state of Washington is famous for its annual tulip festival. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is one of the largest spring festivals in the United States. Every year, it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to Mount Vernon to see millions of tulips in bloom.

Bulb growing in Washington dates back to the late 19th century, when George Gibbs grew the first bulbs in the Puget Sound region of Washington. He contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and sought their help to start a bulb growing experiment with 15,000 imported bulbs from Holland. The experiment was such a success that the Bellingham Tulip Festival was inaugurated in 1920 to showcase the region’s bulb industry.

However, the festival was discontinued a decade later due to bulb freezes and the Great Depression. In the late 1940s, bulb growers began to move into Skagit County, and the bulb industry began to develop there. Local tulip growers used to showcase their bulbs through display gardens until the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce decided to inaugurate an official event similar to the Bellingham Tulip Festival.

The inaugural Skagit Valley Tulip Festival took place in 1984. It was a three-day event held during the bloom month. In 1994, the festival broke off from the Chamber of Commerce and became an independent event. Over the years, it has grown to a month-long festival filled with street fairs, art shows, sporting competitions, and other attractions and activities. The expansion was necessary to ensure that tulips would actually bloom during the festival, since blooming is strongly dependent on the weather.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is held between April 1 and 30 every year, when millions of tulips burst into bloom. The festival doesn’t have a single “site”. Instead, there are tulip fields scattered throughout the valley, which are in different locations every year due to crop rotation. You can travel from one field to another to see numerous tulip cultivars showcased by local growers. The festival attracts almost a million visitors from all 50 states and from over 90 foreign countries.

As we’ve already mentioned, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival offers plenty of events and attractions, including gala celebrations, art exhibitions, concerts, tours on local cheese and shellfish operations, and physical activities such as runs, bike rides and a youth basketball tournament. Two signature events held at the festival are the Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue and the Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Photo: Dan Mihai




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