HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — With Tulip Time getting underway, there will be lots of fun to be had by the thousands of visitors expected to come.
This year marks Holland’s 93rd Tulip Time Festival, which brings millions of revenue into the city each year. Around 500,000 people attend the festival annually, according to a 2018 economic impact study.
Storm Team 8 is forecasting the week to be warm, getting into the 70s on Monday and the 80s Tuesday through Saturday. Tulip Time runs through May 15.
The festival offers many things for attendees to do. Here are eight things to know before you head downtown:
1. TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS
Of course, the star of the show is the thousands of tulips planted throughout the city. There are many places to enjoy the tulips, including Centennial Park, Window on the Waterfront Park and Windmill Island Gardens.
Gwen Auwerda, the executive director of Tulip Time, expects the tulips to be in peak bloom during the festival.
“They are beautiful this year. The tulips love this cold weather, although many of us are really ready for some warmer weather, the tulips love it,” Auwerda told News 8 Wednesday. “We’re about 35% in bloom downtown Holland right now, the warmer weather that we’re going to get in the next couple of days are just going to pop out those blossoms even further.”
There is also a new immersive tulip garden at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds this year. Dutch horticulturist Ibo Gulsen created the garden with 50,000 tulips.
“The tulips are actually built up off the ground in like a maze-type format that you can walk through,” Auwerda said.
You can also order tulip bulbs at Nelis’ Dutch Village, Veldheer Tulip Garden and Windmill Island Gardens, according to the festival.
2. ENJOY DUTCH DANCE PERFORMANCES
A total of 320 dancers will be participating in the Dutch dance performances this year, according to Jenn Ryckbost, the Dutch dance program director for Tulip Time.
“It’s a lot of work, so they put a lot of hours, volunteer hours into this and it’s really beautiful to see the number of people who come and watch and the number of dancers who come back year after year,” Ryckbost said.
Performances will take place at Centennial Park, Beechwood Church and 8th Street between River Avenue and College Avenue throughout the festival.
A schedule of the performances can be found online.
3. WATCH THE TWO PARADES
There will be two parades this year instead of the typical three.
The Street Scrubbing parade and the Quality Car Wash Volksparade have been combined into one parade on Saturday. The traditional white glove inspection and street scrubbing will take place at 1 p.m. on 8th Street from Columbia Avenue to Kollen Park.
After that, there will be Dutch dance performances from 1:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on 8th Street between River Avenue and College Avenue. The parade will start at 2 p.m. and runs on 8th Street from Columbia Avenue to Holland High School.
Festival organizers say the change comes after reevaluating the festival.
“We need to ramp back to where we have been prior to 2019,” Auwerda told News 8 when the announcement was made in October. “The limited staff that we have, we felt that we really could to do two parades and do them well, combine the elements of both the Wednesday parade and Saturday parade into one.”
The Kinderparade will take place on Thursday starting at 2 p.m. It will take place on 8th Street from Columbia Avenue to Kollen Park.
4. EAT TREATS FROM FOOD VENDORS
While walking through downtown, you may enjoy snacking on some cotton candy, elephant ears or popcorn. There are typically food vendors throughout downtown Holland during the festival, including on 8th Street, by the carnival and near Centennial Park.
Tulip Time only manages the vendor areas at the Civic Center and during the firework display at Kollen Park. Vendors outside of those areas get space through private property owners.
There are also many restaurants throughout the city of Holland. Go to holland.org for suggestions.
5. FIND FUN AT THE CARNIVAL
Throughout the festival the Carnival Midway will be set up in the parking lot of the Civic Center.
Wristbands can be bought online or once you arrive. According to the carnival’s website, wristbands online cost $30.
6. ATTEND TULIP TIME EVENTS AND EXHIBITS
There are many events happening throughout the festival that people may attend.
The Tulip Time Run will take place on Saturday, May 7. It includes a 5K, 10K and Kids’ Fun Run. If you can’t make it to Holland, you can also participate in the Tulip Time Virtual Run. More information can be found online.
On Saturday, May 14, there will be fireworks from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Kollen Park. The free event is the grand finale of the festival. There will also be other activities, including live music and food. The firework display will start at dusk.
There will also be a Tulip Time Quilt Show at Beechwood Church throughout the festival. Tickets can be purchased online.
New this year is the Zeeland Girl: Beyond Tradition exhibit, a photographic series by Rem van den Bosch. The exhibit will be set up at the Holland Armory. Tickets can be bought online.
There are many other fun events, including concerts and a walking tour, that the festival has to offer. For a complete list of events and for ticketing information, go to tuliptime.com.
7. BE READY TO LOOK FOR PARKING
Parking is at a premium in downtown Holland during the festival. There are a couple of public parking lots, mostly around 7th Street and 9th Street. There’s also street parking throughout downtown and privately-owned lots drivers can pay to park in.
Be prepared to walk and expect the possibility of traffic jams, especially before and after the parades.
8. FIND OTHER THINGS TO DO
The Holland area has plenty of other things to offer outside of Tulip Time. Visit Lake Michigan at beaches like Holland State Park or Tunnel Park, or learn about the city’s history by going to the Holland Museum.
Other area attractions, like Nelis’ Dutch Village, the Holland Area Arts Council and Veldheer’s Tulip Gardens, offer lots to do. Or if you’re already in downtown, check out the many stores along and near 8th Street, like the Peanut Store or Reader’s World.