Spring is here in the form of 250,000 tulips this weekend at the annual Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival.
The Tulip Festival marks that time of year when winter is starting to retreat and spring is bursting into full swing. The festival is a family friendly activity for guests of all ages to enjoy. The array of colors and the backdrop against the mountains ensures a beautiful experience.
Thanksgiving Point has hosted the Tulip Festival for the past few years — averaging about 35,000 guests a year. This festival is the only Tulip Festival in the Rocky Mountain region — making it a special treat for the community to have so close to home.
“We always had tulips growing in the Gardens, but no one knew when they should come out to see them,” said Britnee Johnston, communication manager at Thanksgiving Point. “The Tulip Festival began, and it started out as just a weekend event. The second year we expanded it to two weekends. It grew to be popular so quickly that it was turned into a three-week event, and that’s how it has been ever since.”
Thanksgiving Point consists of 32 full-time staff gardeners who plant the flowers and maintain the gardens year-round. Usually, the gardeners are responsible for most of the work related to the Tulip Festival.
Each fall, tulip bulbs are planted for the next year’s season. However, this fall a new tradition is slated into being. This year, Thanksgiving Point will invite the public to come and participate in the annual tulip bulb planting. Next spring, those who participated in the tulip bulb planting will literally be able to see their hard work come into full bloom.
More than 100 varieties of tulips will be featured in the festival, among many other items and activities for the public to enjoy. While the variety of tulips is appealing, Thanksgiving Point also hosts multiple events that are sure to entice and entertain patrons.
Henk Stuifbergen, tulip bulb distributor for Thanksgiving Point, is an expert on tulips who is making a special visit from Holland to answer guests’ questions on tulips on April 20 from 10 a.m. to noon. Stuifbergen is involved with tulip research at Cornell University and is on the board of the Tulip Museum in Holland.
Stuifbergen’s visit correlates with Dutch Day, which will celebrate the Dutch heritage with costume apparel, children’s crafts, treats and Dutch entertainment.
In addition, there will be a photography contest. Professional and amateur photographers are invited to submit their favorite shots from the Tulip Festival into the photo contest for a chance to win prizes. Live entertainment will also be held on the evenings of April 19 and April 20 by local musicians and dance groups. Music styles include acoustics, harpists and bagpipers.
With all these activities, the Tulip Festival is sure to entertain all who attend.
“[The festival] is a great way to celebrate spring and enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty,” Johnston said.