HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Businesses in Holland are preparing for the return of Tulip Time this weekend.
After COVID-19 restrictions put the event on pause last year, the festival is set to take place May 1 through May 9. This marks their 92nd year celebrating.
“The journey has been long and I can’t believe we’re actually here. We’re so excited,” Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.
Auwerda says they don’t have an estimate of how many people are expected to visit Holland for the festival, but in years past, there have been upward of half a million people visiting throughout the weeklong stretch.
This year’s festival will be made up of mostly small events including walking tours, scavenger hunts, a Dutch costume exhibit and a carnival at the Civic Center.
The most notable change is that there will be no parades. Masks will be required at all indoor events. Some events will be timed to keep gathering to a minimum.
“It’s really the kickoff of the season. Help us stay safe so we can stay open and all these other festivals can continue to do what they do and do it well,” Auwerda said.
Tulips now adorn almost every corner of downtown. Several storefront windows have Holland-themed items like clogs and tulips on display as they gear up for an influx of foot traffic.
“Last year, it was rough not having Tulip Time. Tulip Time brings in millions of dollars into the community. For us specifically, we have a lot of tourists that are shopping, but it also brings in money to the restaurants and hotels and everything else,” Jennifer Foley with Apothecary Gift Shop said.
Foley is the third generation to work in the store on West 8th Street and South River Avenue. She says this year, they’ll be carrying specialty Tulip Time-themed items designed by Saugatuck artist Katherine Doucette. The store will donate 20% of the proceeds to the nonprofit putting on the event.
“It has the Holland, Michigan and the windmill and the wooden shoes and everything, the tulips of course,” Foley said as she held a mug. “Tulip Time is just a little bit of the sense of normalcy we all appreciate for sure.”
More information on Tulip Time 2021 can be found on its website.