What is it? 

Dating back to 1984, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a monthlong festival devoted to a single flower that comes in many colors: the tulip.

When?

The entire month of April. (Usually the event runs April 1-30, but in 2022 Tulip Town extends to May 1, a Sunday.) Flowers tend to bloom throughout the month, though some years they jump the gun. Find a regular report on the currant petal status on the Tulip Festival website, or Roozengaarde's field-by-field bloom map.

Why the tulip?

Gardeners have long known that the Pacific Northwest, and particularly the rich Skagit Valley soil about an hour north of Seattle, hold ideal conditions for this particular flower. Dutch immigrant William Roozen (whose name means, uh, “roses”) came from a tulip-farming family in Holland and built the Roozengaarde tulip empire here in the last century—though the business actually farms more daffodil acres than any other flower.

But what does a festivalgoer do?

Two farms, Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, have long comprised the heart of the festival. The former is famous for its fields that stretch wide with blocks of color; the sight of such tidy lines of perky blooms is more impressive than you’d think. Tulip Town, a smaller operation, scores entertainment points with trolley rides and funky photo ops. This year a third stop, Garden Rosalyn, joins the bouquet. The festival otherwise celebrates the Skagit Valley with concerts, art shows, and a parade in the town of La Conner.

What can you not do?

Daydreams of traipsing—or Instagramming—through a tulip field are quickly squashed by firm reminders to stay off the plant roots. Still, it isn’t hard to position a photo with the full punch of flower power. Farms even carve muddy nooks into the tulip rows for the purpose.

Just how popular is it?

Wildly so; both farms sell timed tickets and urge visitors to consider a midweek trip to beat the crowds. Be prepared for traffic—on foot around the tulip fields and on the rural roads that surround Mount Vernon.

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