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Blossoms ahead of schedule for Holland’s Tulip Time Festival

Many of the more than six million tulips planted in Holland are beginning to bloom already…five weeks before the city’s Tulip Time Festival.

“There’s some that are in full bloom right now, especially if it’s close to concrete or a building where they get a lot of sun,” Tulip Time Festival’s executive director Gwen Auwerda said. “But many of the parks have not seen blossoms; they’re budded but no blossoms.” (You can keep tabs on progress of the tulips bloominghere.)

Organizers are now asking visitors to come twice this year – once in mid-April to see the tulips in full bloom – and again for the festival celebrating the flowers and Holland’s Dutch heritage. Tulip Time is the first full week in May.

Every year, there’s talk in Holland about whether the tulips will bloom at the right time.

“We did move the festival up a week back in the early 2000s because we were finding that everything was blooming a little earlier,” Auwerda said. “I think this year is really an anomaly. I don’t see this continuing on but who knows?”

Tulip Time festival is one of the largest flower festivals in the country. It brings roughly $10 million into Holland’s economy.

At least 100 motor coaches visit the festival each year. She says they’ll still come because they book so early and the groups are usually part of larger tours. Auwerda says they’re hoping that people on day or weekend trips from Chicago and Detroit visit twice.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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