HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time is back with a record-breaking opening weekend.
The spring celebration, now in its 93rd year, is making its full return to Holland. Organizers told News 8 that Tulip Time is eclipsing pre-pandemic numbers.
Gwen Auwerda, the executive director of Tulip Time, said there was record-breaking turnout at the carnival on Saturday. Many events across the festival were sold out.
“(For) sales at the carnival, we exceeded 2018 levels of sales at the carnival in one day,” Auwerda said. “So that was pretty fabulous. We have walking tours happening all day yesterday and today. Both were sold out.”
Auwerda added that the Tulip Immersion Garden also sold out on Saturday.
“So that all tells us we’ve got a lot of people in town,” she said.
Celebrations were limited last year because of the pandemic. The event was canceled entirely in 2020.
Ben Pollock, a 15-year-old from Muskegon, has come to the festival all his life. But he said when the event returned in 2021, it wasn’t the same.
“Not as many people,” Pollock said. “It was really small. It was kind of more sad almost. It’s a lot more happier now.”
As the big crowds return this year, it’s a boon for Holland and local businesses.
“We did an economic impact study in 2018,” Auwerda said. “The existence of the festival brings in $48 million of brand-new money into this community. And that’s huge. It’s a huge boost after a slow winter.”
Contributing to that boost — mothers coming into town to see the spring tulips on their big day.
Chinnam Tejaswi, a woman with a 15-month-old child, came to the festival for the first time Sunday. She brought her whole family along.
“Oh my god, (so) beautiful,” Tejaswi said. “We are so excited to come next year as well.”
Benjamin Blodgett has attended the event for years and said it’s the perfect spot for family pictures. He also brought his baby along, who had a great time with the tulips.
“She loves it,” Blodgett said. “And she’s trying to pick them all.”
There is a week more of fun to go: The festival wraps up next Sunday, May 15.
If you’re heading out to Holland, prepare for some delays getting into town as organizers expect more big crowds to come.
“Traffic is hard, there’s construction everywhere on all sides of town,” Auwerda said. “Even getting into town on the highways. Follow the detours, be patient, people will get here and have a very good time.”
The festival continues at 9 a.m. Monday with walking tours. If you’re planning on stopping by after work, the Dutch dance gets underway at 7 p.m.