Tulip Time Festival
Like every year, in the beginning of May, city of Holland, MI celebrated its Dutch heritage with the Tulip Time Festival. From May 6th to 14th (2017) the town was full of visitors enjoying the multitude of parades, Dutch dancing, concerts, arts & crafts fair, fireworks, trolley tours, carnival rides and many more festivities expected at such events. Of course, the main attractions were ever present tulips. The city claims that there are about 5 million of them planted in the area.
In 2016, the readers of USA Today named the event the “Best Flower Festival” . This year, the festival celebrated its 88th anniversary.
Besides the main festivities happening in the downtown area, there are other places to visit, like Windmill Island Gardens and Nelis’ Dutch Village.
The area has many more attractions to offer, if you want to take a break from the festival.
There are beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. One is the Ottawa Beach in Holland State Park, just north of Lake Macatawa. Another one is in Tunnel Park, about a mile north from the Ottawa Beach.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, located about 10 miles south of Holland, is another place with a spectacular landscape.
If lighthouses are your interest, the “Big Red” north of Lake Macatawa channel is the one of the most photographed ones in Michigan.
If the crowds in town, during the festival, are too much to deal with, go and visit the beautiful and picturesque nearby towns of Grand Haven (to the north), or Saugatuck and Douglas (to the south).
One word of caution though… If you plan to attend the festival in the future, consider making some advanced reservations. The festival attracts over half-million visitors, and the downtown area is extremely crowded. Many visitors like to sit along one of the streets, and watch the events for extended period of time. If this is something that interests you, remember to bring a folding chair. Get there early to claim a spot.
If you stay too far from downtown and need to drive there, expect parking at a distance and walking for a while to get there.
If you are considering visiting next year, 2018 festival is scheduled for May 5th till 13th.
Here are some resources to help you plan your visit: Tulip Time, Dutch Village