Tulip Time offers family-friendly fun

GVL / Eric Coulter
Tulip TImes Carnival

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Tulip TImes Carnival

Samantha Butcher

Between the rain showers, chirping birds and resurgence of green, spring has sprung in West Michigan. In Holland, Mich., this turn of the seasons means one thing — it’s time for tulips.

Holland’s annual Tulip Time festival began Saturday, drawing large crowds with its millions of scenic blooms and activities for all ages.

The event, named “Best Small Town Festival” by Reader’s Digest, runs through May 12.

Celebrating culture The primary draw of the Tulip Time festival
is a celebration of Holland’s Dutch roots, and expect to see this celebration in full force.

Sample the tastes, sounds and crafts of 19th-Century Holland at the Dutch Marktplaats, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Civic Center starting Tuesday.

Be sure not to miss the Dutch Dance, which is performed several times a day at various locations throughout Holland. Dancers wear handmade costumes styled after traditional dresses from Dutch Provinces while performing choreographed dances to Dutch folk music.

There are also three parades, all beginning at 2 p.m.: the Volksparade on Wednesday, the Kinderparade Thursday and the Muziekparade Saturday.

Enhance your experience by visiting one of Holland’s Dutch attractions. Kids will love Nelis’ Dutch Village Family Theme Park and Wooden Shoe Factory, while older patrons will enjoy the 36 acres of tulips, dikes and canals at Windmill Island Gardens or touring the 5 million tulips at Veldheer’s Tulip Gardens and DeKlomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory.

In bloom
This year’s festival features more than six million tulips planted in city parks and public attractions and along city streets. See the tulip plantings at Window on the Waterfront and Centennial Park, or explore the shops and restaurants along Tulip Lanes, which stretch six miles beginning at 12th Street and River Avenue. In addition to the tulips, it’s likely you’ll see a street performer or two entertaining the crowds.

To see the most of Tulip Lanes, Holland’s historic district, city parks and the downtown area, take a trolley tour. Tulip City Tours last 75 minutes and depart every half hour from Centennial Park, located at the corner of 10th and Central avenues.

For the young (or young at heart)
While the Tulip Time festival is rich in culture and history, there is also plenty of fun to be had at the carnival, located on West 8th Street.

There are rides for all ages, including a miniature roller coaster, spinning apples and fun house for the youngest patrons and the Gravitron and Zipper for the bravest.

Purchase a wristband for $20 to get unlimited rides; individual tickets are also available.

The carnival also offers plenty of fair food. Vendors cooking up everything from traditional fair fare to tacos line West 8th Street, and a stage area with bleachers is set up outside the carnival entrance for those looking for a soundtrack to their snack.

For more information about Tulip Time, visit www.tuliptime.com or call the box office at 616-396-4221.

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