Visiting the Tulip Festival in Michigan
Experience the beauty and vibrancy of tulips in Holland, Michigan, when you attend Tulip Time, Michigan's popular tulip festival. Each May, downtown Holland features miles of tulip displays and exciting events. When you visit this charming, colorful town during Tulip Time, you can celebrate Dutch heritage while enjoying gorgeous flowers, fantastic food and festive events.
From sweet stroopwafel cookies to traditional Dutch dance lessons, this event is full of memorable experiences. Knowing when to see tulips in Holland and how to make the most of its famous festival can help you take advantage of this beautiful season.
What Is the Holland Tulip Festival?
Tulip Time is Michigan's famous tulip festival. This eight-day event makes visitors feel like they are walking through the Netherlands in a floral wonderland full of tulips, exciting performances, delicious food and fun attractions.
Dutch settlers brought tulips to Michigan when they traveled from the Netherlands in 1847, searching for a better economy and freedom of expression. The first Tulip Time festival took place in 1929, delighting local residents, nearby visitors and international guests with beautiful flowers and fun events.
In 1927, a Holland High School biology teacher attended a literary club meeting and suggested planting flowers to brighten up the community. In 1928, the city sold imported tulip bulbs to each participating resident for a penny, and the residents planted their tulips to bloom for the first festival that took place the following year. The festival then became an annual tradition and grew into the beloved celebration it is today.
When Is the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan?
Tulip Time occurs in May when visitors can witness the area's tulips in full bloom and enjoy the pleasant spring weather. The specific dates change each year, but the festival typically begins during the first weekend in May and extends through the second weekend. Attending the festival on weekdays can help you avoid the larger crowds and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere.
Festival Events and Attractions
Holland offers plenty of memorable experiences when you visit during Tulip Time. You and your family or friends can experience Dutch culture and heritage through various attractions and events. Attend Tulip Time to engage in the following entertaining activities:
Experience the Tulips
Holland bursts with color during Tulip Time, and you can enjoy tulips around every corner. Tulip lanes line six miles of Holland's roads, and you can stop at several locations to immerse yourself in magical floral exhibits. Communities, parks and establishments plant over 100 tulip varieties in numerous colors all over town, allowing visitors to explore the area and marvel at several tulip types, such as the following:
- Lily Flowering
- Darwin Hybrid
- Single Late
While you can experience Holland's gorgeous tulips at every turn, you should make time to visit some key tulip spots. The following locations create incredible tulip displays during the Tulip Time festival:
- Dutch Village
- Windmill Island Gardens
- Riverview Park
- Kollen Park
- Centennial Park
- Veldheer's Tulip Farm
- Nelis' Dutch Village
Watch or Join a Traditional Dutch Dance
Throughout the exciting eight-day festival, you can witness traditional Dutch dances. Dancers in authentic costumes twirl, stomp and tap around to festive music for a memorable performance. You can join in on the fun by participating in a Dutch dance lesson to immerse yourself in the full cultural experience.
Shop at an Artisan Market
Holland hosts an annual artisan market that takes place for one day during the festival. You can shop from over 200 vendors selling unique, high-quality items. This market offers the perfect opportunity to stroll through the Ottawa County fairgrounds as you browse vendor booths and enjoy pop-up Dutch dances throughout the day. You can also enjoy a mouthwatering lunch from one of the festival's food trucks.
Find Some Delftware and Traditional Wooden Shoes
After browsing through the artisan market, you can visit DeKlomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory to shop for some Dutch delftware and hand-carved wooden shoes. Delftware is world-famous, hand-painted Dutch porcelain decorated with rural scenes, windmills and white and blue tulips.
Traditional Dutch wooden shoes are made of poplar wood and carved in authentic Dutch machinery. Whether you purchase tiny Dutch shoes for your child's doll, try on a pair of adult-size wooden shoes for yourself or pick up some elegant pottery, visiting this store is an opportunity to find some fun Dutch souvenirs to remember your trip.
Attend the Carnival
Holland also hosts an exciting carnival during the Tulip Time festival. You and your friends or family can spend the day riding rides, eating tasty carnival treats and playing games.
Marvel at Stunning Art
Attend the Art in Bloem Fine Art Showcase to experience the year's top 20 Bloem art competition finalists. Each art piece on display celebrates the joy and beauty of Tulip Time, and you can vote for your favorite piece. This exhibit also displays traditional Dutch costumes, so you can view them up close.
Explore Dutch Architecture
Holland is home to DeZwann Windmill, an authentic Dutch windmill that the Netherlands sold to the United States in 1964. It was originally constructed in the 1700s, and it now resides in Windmill Island Gardens as America's only working windmill.
When you visit Windmill Island Gardens, you can admire the windmill's architecture, learn more about Holland's history, walk among thousands of flowers, listen to a working street organ and ride an antique carousel.
Sample Some Authentic Dutch Food
From sweet treats to savory dishes, Holland's markets and restaurants feature traditional Dutch foods to delight your tastebuds. Take a break from your exploring and flower gazing to try some delicious foods such as the following:
- Dutch cheeses
- Stroopwafel cookies
- Pea soup
- Dutch pigs in a blanket
- Dutch chocolate and fudge
Nelis' Dutch Village features several shops where you can purchase delectable Dutch cheese, chocolate, fudge, candy, cookies and peanut brittle. DeBoer Bakkerij is another favorite during Tulip Time. Make sure you visit this traditional Dutch bakery to try some donuts, cookies, bread or breakfast pastries.
Tips for Attending the Tulip Time Festival
To make the most of your time at Holland's tulip festival, consider the following tips:
- Plan ahead: Some attractions, such as Windmill Island Gardens, become busy and stop offering admission after a certain time. Purchasing admission ahead of time and arriving early can help you beat the crowds and enjoy the event to the fullest.
- Attend toward the end of the festival: Visiting during weekdays is the best way to avoid crowds, and visiting toward the end of the festival is the best way to see the most blooms. By the second weekend of the festival, most of the tulips are in full bloom.
- Book early: It is also important to book your stay at least as early in advance as possible to ensure you have a place to rest your head at night.
- Wear comfortable shoes: Walking through downtown Holland and visiting various attractions is the best way to fully experience this event, and parking areas fill up fast. Wearing comfortable shoes makes it easier to park in one spot and explore the festival on foot.
Stay at Covert / South Haven KOA Holiday to Experience Tulip Time
Visiting Holland, Michigan, during the famous Tulip Time festival is an unforgettable experience. This charming town becomes a colorful spring canvas in May, and it offers exciting cultural events and attractions to make you feel like you are exploring the Netherlands. Kampgrounds of America offers the perfect place to stay during the Tulip Time Festival.
Covert / South Haven KOA Holiday is located near gorgeous sandy shores, rural fruit farms and the beautiful town of Holland, making it an incredible getaway spot. KOA offers fun campground recreational activities and various convenient amenities so you can enjoy a comfortable stay. Explore Holland's tulip festival and all of its exciting attractions before sharing some stroopwafel cookies around a warm campfire. Reserve a stay at KOA to attend the spectacular Tulip Time festival!