A 72-year-old festival gets underway in northwest Iowa today with one of its key features missing. Warm weather caused the tulips in Orange City to pop out early and spokesperson Ashley Saras says you’ll have to look hard to find the signature flower as the tulip festival gets underway.
“I think there’s probably about five in the whole town, they’re pretty much gone for this year,” she says. The town of Pella in central Iowa faced the same dilemma with its tulip festival back in April, and chose to focus on other aspects of the Dutch Heritage. Saras says that’s also the plan in Orange City.
“Every day we have two parades that feature area bands, beautiful floats, we also have Dutch dancing, Dutch games, we have a beautiful carnival midway that’s a new carnival we have in this year. There’s tons of Dutch costumes,” Saras says. The lack of the colorful flowers hasn’t dampened the community spirit, as Saras says you can feel the buzz around town as people prepare for the event.
“It’s so charming, and I feel like it’s so colorful and it’s just a folk festival, but there is so much more to it,” according to Saras. “Our community does such a great job with organizing everything and volunteers and I think people just feel welcome and right at home. I think that’s something that’s great about our festival.”
Saras says around 100,000 visitors generally attend the festival in the town of 6,500.