When you tell people you are from Holland, the first response is often an impressed “Oh really?”. Then you say “Holland, Michigan” and the level of impressiveness drops a notch. But often people then remember that there is a large festival in Holland, MI in early May that features parades, dancers, concerts, junk food and (usually anyway) Tulips.
Tulip Time began in 1929 and it celebrates Holland, MI’s Dutch culture. While the Klompen dancing isn’t necessarily accurate it was originally based on Dutch Folk dancing and all costumes worn by dancers and by parade participants are inspected for authenticity.
The festival is a bit “old hat” for those of us who were born and raised in Holland, but it still makes for an enjoyable event to get out for. It’s a great way to bump into old school mates and neighbors that we haven’t seen for some time. We usually do one night of junk food and try to catch a parade or two.
The big joke this year was the lack of tulips. The few weeks of unseasonably warm weather we had back in March meant the tulips peaked weeks early. The event organizers did what they could, encouraging people to come enjoy them as early as they could. They also printed up “StemFest” buttons and t-shirts which were a hit locally.
We went down for the Thursday “Kinderparade” which we had never been to as a family. This parade is mainly for locals, mostly parents and grandparents coming down to wave at the proper children. Miranda and I also went back for the main Saturday “Muziekparade” parade which typically features 60+ marching bands and runs > 3hours. This year it was quite a bit smaller due, we think, to the cold and drizzly weather.
Overall TulipTime is a nice “big yet small” local festival to come enjoy in early May. If you’re a fellow RVr the local parks are open, and the one we’re currently in has plenty of spaces (but if you can reserve early it’s still best to). If you also happen to be a photographer you’ll find lots of interesting photo ops. If you are lucky there will even be Tulips…