Imagine planning a big event and your main guest arrives one month early. That’s what’s happened with the annual Pella Tulip Festival, as the record warm weather has caused the flowers to pop out now, while the festival events not scheduled to get underway until May third.
Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau director, Jill Vandevoort says instead of a setback, they see it as a way for people to double their visits to the central Iowa town.
You can start with some tulip viewing. She says the city is good about staggering the planting of the tulip beds, so there are three full weeks of tulip viewing.
This will be the 77th annual Pella Tulip Festival and the weather is always one of the things festival planners watch. “We’ve had all types of climate interference with our tulip festival throughout the years, and on occasion the flowers have come up early and then had a little difficulty fighting off some frost,” Vandevoort explains.
“This year it’s just amazing with this beautiful spring weather, and I know we are all very much enjoying it, and the tulips are enjoying it a little too much this year as well.” Vandevoort says up can stop by and see the tulips in bloom and later come back and see the festival that shows off the Dutch heritage of the community.
“I would say probably at least 50-percent of the community is in their Dutch costume. They’re participating whether it’s volunteering at one of our attractions like the Pella Historical Village or Vermeer windmill — which is the largest working grain mill in the United States — or even just participating in the activities of the parades throughout the three days, with our two parades each at 2:30 and 8:30.”
And she says while the tulips are the centerpiece, many people attend the festival for the edible pieces of the community’s heritage, such as Dutch letters. “All those goodies that are available at our vending stands…you can get more Dutch treats during those three days than any or time of the year, so the food alone is a big draw,” Vandevoort says.
You can go to:www.pella.org to find out about general information on Pella, and www.pellatuliptime.com for more information on the festival schedule. The festival begins Thursday May third and runs through Saturday May fifth.