skagit_valley_tulip_festival_kidsSpring is the season when the Skagit Valley shows her colors, and the season for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2016. The daffodils peeking from the rich Skagit soil brings us the first hint of spring. Skagit Valley is on center stage when the tulips bloom which commences the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. You can take in the daffodils, tulips, & irises by foot, bicycle, tour bus or seaplane. The Valley is alive with tulip festival events & happenings from street festivals to art shows.
The Skagit Valley in northwest Washington, 60 miles from Seattle, becomes one of the most brightly colored destinations in the world every spring, when thousands of tulips burst into bloom. The valley has long been a major grower of the flowers, but it’s more recent that it has also become home to one of the best springtime events in the Northwest. In 1984, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce inaugurated the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival as an official annual event after realizing people were coming by the thousands to see the fields of colorful tulips in bloom. In 1994, the festival grew so large, it parted ways with the Chamber of Commerce and become its own entity.
Netherland Tulip Festival
Keukenhof is the home of the Holland’s annual tulip festival and the most well known tulip festival in the world. The Dutch festival is located just south of Amsterdam in the small town of Lisse. It’s a fun day trip from the capital for flower and garden enthusiasts or you could include it in a road trip around the Netherlands.
The festival runs from late March to mid May (2016 dates: 24th March – 16th May 2016 ) and depending on when you visit you’ll see different flowers in bloom. When I went in early April the tulips were just starting to flower in the outdoor flower beds and there were thousands inside.
Tulip Festival Skagit Valley Farming Heritage
Who is behind the tulips? Roozengaarde was established in 1985 by the Roozen family and Washington Bulb Company, Inc. The Roozen family business of growing Tulips, Daffodils and Irises is the largest in the world, covering Skagit Valley with more than 1200 acres of field blooms and 15 acres of greenhouses. William Roozen emigrated from Holland in 1947 with years of experience in the bulb industry. He had a good back, strong hands, and a heart pulsing with dreams. Roozen started a bulb farm on five acres of land, holding meetings in a garage and toiling long hours beside a few hired hands. He saved money by buying used tractors and farm equipment.
The Roozen family’s hard work ethic spans at least six generations. The family first began raising tulips in Holland in the mid-1700’s. In the Skagit Valley, Roozen (which means “roses” in Dutch) worked for other farmers before setting off on his own in 1950. Five years later, he purchased the Washington Bulb Co., founded by two of the area’s first bulb farmers, Joe Berger and Cornelius Roozekrans. The Washington Bulb Co. now farms about 2,000 acres of land. In 1985, William Roozen handed the business down to his five sons and a daughter, Bernadette Roozen Miller, who passed away in 1996. William Roozen passed away on July 13, 2002 and, with 35 grandchildren, was confident the family company will keep growing.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival keeps growing every year, and Skagitonians remain proud of the farming heritage of the Skagit Valley.