The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is ready to bloom again

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is ready to bloom again

Bad weather and bad luck have hampered the festival, which is a critical economic driver for the Skagit Valley.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – This weekend marks the start of tulip season in the Skagit Valley. The annual tulip festival has fallen on hard times since the pandemic, but hopes are high that business will flourish at full capacity again this year.

Tourists are already in the fields of the Skagit Valley. Tulip season officially begins Saturday, but Tulip Valley Farms is taking advantage of sunny skies to open their doors a day early, hoping the clouds of the past four years will finally lift.

“We have had textbook challenges growing tulips in the Skagit Valley,” said Andrew Miller, owner of Tulip Valley Farms.

The fields were full of flowers but there were no people as the pandemic canceled the annual festival in 2020. The pandemic continued to hamper attendance the following year. Near-record floods wreak havoc on fields in 2022. Last year, a cold spring brought the freshest start of bloom on record

However, this year, with an early opening over the Easter weekend, things seem to have finally taken a turn for the better.

“I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s great! Looks like we’ve finally weathered some storms,” ​​Miller said. “We’re very lucky this year because it’s Easter weekend. It’s before April 1. We’ll probably get an extra weekend of visitors.”

The annual Tulip Festival attracts 400,000 to 500,000 visitors to Skagit County. They bring in an estimated $65 million to the local economy. But the celebration lost some momentum with all the bad luck.

In 2022, the Skagit Tourism Office was established to reignite interest in the area and remind people that the Tulip Festival is still on.

“We have a chance to talk to these visitors while they’re here and show them everything, from the whales in Anacortes to the mountains in Marble Mount. There’s outdoor recreation and everything in between,” said Christine Keltz, the office’s executive director.

In Tulip City, there are 1.3 million bulbs in the ground.

The challenging years gave the farm the opportunity to reimagine its customer experience. After 40 years in business, they are now adding music, food trucks and Easter egg hunts for adults.

“I think one of the ways you can survive is to not give up. And to keep going,” said Marissa Schwabe of Tulip Town. “I think this is going to be the best year yet.”

In addition to Tulip Valley and Tulip Town, there are two other farms in the valley, Rosen Garden and Rosalyn Garden. For more information, visit tulipfestival.org.

Back in Tulip Valley, the flowering rate has already reached 25%. Peak bloom is expected mid-month, and forecasts are cooperating for the coming weeks so far.

“I feel like the stars are aligning and the universe is shining down on us, at least this weekend, and hopefully the entire bloom season,” Miller said.

He watches: Tulip festival from the air

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