Festival board member, Cyndi Atkins, says they are excited about the return after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of last year’s festival. “Our theme this year ‘Back in Bloom’ so we are going to be back with thousands and thousands of tulips, lots of people in Dutch costumes,” Atkins says.
The annual festival, which started in 1935, had only been canceled once before, back in 1946. “Last year was hard because it definitely was a hit to the Pella Historical Society budget. They cut their budget, here, there, and everywhere. They were documented as a $150,000 that they needed to cut out of their budget,” she says.
Atkins says the event from May 6th through the 8th will have some modifications to keep everyone safe. “We’re trying very hard to make sure we can make this one be a successful festival, so that we can continue to raise funds to support the local historic village,” according to Atkins. “And also so there is a way for a lot of the non-profits who run the food stands, and the vendors in the West Market Park craft area, to have a chance to actually make some of the funds this year that they would make in a normal year.”
Atkins says many of the vendors are local churches and organizations that fund projects with the money they make. “So many of these other vendors — they’re raising money for wonderful causes — it’s heartwarming,” Atkins says.
Atkins says she’s already seen tulips poking out of the ground and expects that to continue as things warm up. “The city and the historical village and Central College and others who plant large, large gardens do a really good job of planting tulips that bloom, early, mid and late,” Atkins says. “So that some might have bloomed and be gone before people arrived, but there’s always some that are coming that will still be blooming and continue as we push into late May. That’s just the way it works so that we can have something and we can see them bloom.”
Activities will begin each day in Pella around 9 a.m and continue until the lighted parade floats go dim around 9:30 p.m.
(Photo from the Pella Historical Society)