I was talking to a friend, telling her how excited I was about going to the Tulip Festival. “So what’s the deal with the tulip festival anyway? Do you get to pick flowers?” Well, no. “Do you do anything besides look at flowers?” Not exactly. I understood her lack of enthusiasm. I had just moved to Washington when the Tulip Festival started last year. I had no intentions of going and didn’t understand what the fuss was about, then I rode through the Skagit Valley when there weren’t beautiful fields of blooming tulips and I got it. It’s a beautiful area that would be nice to visit any time of year. The tulips are the icing on the cake.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival lasts about a month and brings in over a million visitors each year. It typically starts the beginning of April, but started a little earlier this year due to weather.
According to the Skagit Tulip Festival site “Our festival is designed as a driving tour for the visitor as there is no one “site” that you go to for your visit. The fields of tulips are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley as are the many events and activities that comprise the festival. The tulip fields are the crops of RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co., Inc. and Tulip Town and the fields are different each year due to crop rotation. Both RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town also have displays of tulips in gardens for visitors to view and photograph.” Get more info here: http://www.tulipfestival.org/
We chose to visit Roozengarde. It is located in the town of Mt. Vernon and has over 100 tulip varieties along with daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, iris, & specialty flowers. They have a beautiful dispaly garden, a 25 acre tulip field along with a 15 acre daffodil field (The daffodil field was done blooming by the time we visited but I imagine it’s beautiful.) The cost to get in is $5 per person, children 6 and under are free. Parking is also free. Typically the fields are pretty muddy, rain boots are highly suggested although we were lucky to go when there were several warm, dry days in a row and didn’t really need them. Also, because of the large crowds, it’s good to show up early or late afternoon. Make sure to check the hours of operation ahead of time.
More info for Roozengaarde: http://www.tulips.com/tulip-festival-information
15867 Beaver Marsh Rd. Mount Vernon, WA 98273 1-866-488-5477
Unfortunately, because of the strange weather this year, the fields are finished blooming and are being plowed, but the display garden blooms awhile longer and is worth checking out all on it’s own. Although I was skeptical before, I plan on attending the festival as long as I live in Washington, and might consider a trip even if I don’t.