One of Iowa’s most popular tourist attractions was –almost– wiped out by recent bouts with freezing weather and snow, but Pella officials assure, Tulip Time is "on." Patsy Sadler, director of Pella’s Historic Village, says they’ve had a lot of nervous flower-watchers, waiting to see if their famous tulips would emerge after being nipped by the frost. Sadler says their prayers were answered.
She says: "We have some good color in the parks and here at the village. Things are looking better than what we expected. When we had all of that terrible cold for so many nights, that was kind of a scary time for us." She says there were back-up plans if the worst happened — which included trucking in thousands of healthy tulips to Pella from points south and transplanting them.
Fortunately, that won’t be necessary. Sadler says, "All throughout the town it’s probably about quarter-of-a-million blooms and probably 75-percent of those are still doing pretty well." She says the annual tulip fest is now in its 72nd year and typically draws 100-thousand people over its three-day run. Sadler says the festivities start Thursday morning and run through Saturday night.
She says wagon tours begin at 9 o’clock each morning, the same time the historic village opens, while the quilt show opens at 10 AM. The parades through town are held daily at 2 P.M. and again at dusk, around 8 P.M., with the lighted floats. Sadler says if you’ve never had the pastry delights known as Dutch letters, Pella’s the place for finding fresh ones.
Sadler says there’s a variety of entertainment and even an authentic 1950s working windmill. She says there’s a presentation of the Tulip Queen each afternoon and evening, there’s Dutch dancing, street singers, food stands packed with Dutch delicacies, cheeses and sausages, "All sorts of things to tempt people to go off of their diets."