Pella’s Tulip Time opens Thursday and organizers say they’ll set a world’s record at the 75th annual festival of flowers. There’s already a world’s record in the Guinness book for most dancers wearing wooden shoes all dancing at one time, and Tulip Time’s Karen Eischen says they’re going to beat that record on Saturday morning.
“The record is 475 so we were going to shoot for a thousand,” Eischen says. “We’ve had sign-ups over the last couple of months and right now, we are at 2,500, so obviously, we are going to shatter that record and we’re still taking more registrations.” She says dancers can sign up that morning and buy wooden shoes on-site, if they don’t already have a pair of their own.
“We have a special Dutch song,” Eischen says. “It is a very easy dance consisting of 16 different steps. It will be taught that morning. It’s also available on YouTube if anybody would like to learn it ahead of time.” She is thrilled with the projected turnout and says it’ll be more wooden-shoe-wearing dancers than Pella’s ever seen.
“We are going to line them up all the way around the square in a double line and we will also be using two other blocks, so we will have six full blocks of dancers in double lines,” Eischen says. “It’s going to be quite a sight to see.” The festival is expected to draw 175-thousand people over its three-and-a-half day run.
Eischen says one focal point of the event is, of course, the fragrant flowers. She says they planted 350,000 tulip bulbs throughout the small south-central Iowa community for this year’s gala, and tens of thousands are still in bloom. “They have held on incredibly well,” Eischen says. “We’ve had almost a month of color right now. We plant three varieties so that always helps with our bloom time, extend that out. We’ll probably have about a third of those left by this weekend. They still look fabulous. We just won’t have as many as what we had planned to.”
The traditional Tulip Time events are also planned through the weekend, including twice-daily parades, a street-scrubbing, Dutch foods and a craft show, all under the shadow of the authentic 126-foot tall windmill from Holland. For details, visit “www.pellatuliptime.com“. See a five minute instructional dance video below.