Tulip Time in Pure Michigan

The Tulip Time Festival, taking place from May 5 – 12 in Holland, is a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture. Today, Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director of the festival, answers some of our questions about this fun event.

Q: How did the Tulip Time Festival start and why did it start in Holland?
A: Lida Rogers, a Holland High School biology teacher, had an idea in 1929 to beautify the city.  Implemented by the city of Holland and Mayor Earnest Brooks, the city purchased 100,000 imported bulbs from the Netherlands and planted them in the parks and along the street curbs.  Lida’s idea was to have one day set aside every years as a “tulip day.”  When the tulips bloomed in 1929 and Tulip Time was first announced to the world, the response was overwhelming.  Thousands of tourists visited the city during an eight-day period, this date chosen because the tulips would be in full bloom.  Over the years the festival has grown in attendance with over 500,000 visitors each year and 6 million tulips planted in the city, parks and local attractions.

Q: How many people attend the Festival and how far do people travel?
A: Attendance is over 500,000 visitors during the Festival and in 2011, visitors from over 40 countries were represented.

Q: What sorts of activities are planned for the festival?
A: Dutch Dancing is a highlight for guests.  The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces, seven of which are represented in costume by the dancers during the festival.  In general, the clothing represents the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Over 900 dancers can be seen daily in their traditional dress.

We have 3 signature parades with the largest parade being the Saturday Muziekparade (Music Parade) with approximately 30 bands participating.

Community art & culture organizations provide a variety of evening events showcasing their talent.  Also included in the evening shows are national entertainment acts.  Additionally, as part of the festival we have fireworks, art & craft fair, Kinderplaats – our children’s festival, Tulip City Tours – a 70 minute guided tour of the local area and the Tulip Time Run.

Q: Are there any activities new for this year’s festival?
A: New for 2012 – Modern Delftware Art Class, Family Rest Area, QuikTrip Parking Shuttle, Bier Tuin – our Dutch Beer Garden, and a text to vote for the Volksparade on Wednesday for your favorite float and a text to vote on Saturday’s Muziekparade for your favorite band.

Q: How does the festival focus on Holland’s Dutch heritage?
A: Our focus on Dutch heritage can be experienced at the  Dutch Marktplaats – a place where you can experience the tastes, sights, sounds and crafts of 19th century Holland.  Dutch food, dancing, crafts, costumes and shopping all in one place. 

Q: Do you have any tips for people that want to grow their own tulips?
A: Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall before the ground freezes and they bloom in the spring.  They can withstand very cool temperatures and even snow after they have begun to pop out of the ground in the spring.  They are a very hearty flower.  The blooms last approximately 21 days and come in early, mid and late blooming varieties.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about the festival?
A: tuliptime.com is the website for the Holland Tulip Time Festival.  The schedule of events, map of the tulip lanes, shows and ticket purchases can all be found on our website.

Gwen Auwerda is Executive Director of the Tulip Time Festival.

Beachtowns Fall Fun Itinerary

Sunset in Ludington

The nine Beachtowns along the west Michigan Lakeshore aren’t just summer destinations. The editors of Michigan Travel Ideas put together a fall itinerary to guide you in enjoying each beach town on a different weekend this season.

October 7–8, Ludington
Friday 10-2 p.m., Saturday 10-5 p.m.

Celebrate the harvest at Autumn Days, offering experiences in everything reminiscent of this fleeting season. Watch apples being pressed into cider, hop on a hayride and take a look at the past in the 29 museum buildings in the historic village. The Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor is serving up that perfect taste of fall—fresh baked apple pie.

October 15, Muskegon
Saturday 10-3 p.m.

Discover the vibrant colors of fall on the 7th Annual Depot to Depot Fall Color Tour. On the self-guided drive, see several historic and scenic sites; there is also a list of optional side trips. Make a weekend of it with the discounts offered at select lodging facilities and local businesses. Enter to win the Lake Express Ticket Contest and receive complimentary passes to various attractions.

October 22, Holland
Saturday 9 p.m.–1 a.m.

At the biannual GrooveWalk music event, 10 bands perform at 10 local bars for a night of live music and fun—each bar even has a featured drink. The free GrooveXpress buses stop near each venue, and each bus has its own musician on board to keep the beat going.

October 28–29, Grand Haven
Friday and Saturday 7-11 p.m.

Dare to walk through the Haunted Hall’s Experiments in Terror this Halloween. Admission gets you into both of their haunts: Phobia1a Proj3ct and Operat1on unr3ality. Prepare to be terrified.

November 5–6, St. Joseph
Saturday 10-4 p.m., Sunday 12-4 p.m.

HollyMarket is a great way to get a jump-start on holiday shopping. The annual art and craft fair features a variety of artwork, decor and holiday gifts arranged in the galleries of the Krasl Art Center.

November 11–13, South Haven
Friday–Sunday

Women are taking over for the annual Women’s Only Weekend. Events start Friday afternoon with the Wine and Cheese Welcome. Activities include a Harbor Walk, scavenger hunt and enrichment workshops.

November 18–20, Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Any time

A blanket would be the perfect accessory for cozying up on the beach to watch a beautiful Pure Michigan sunset at Little Sable Point Lighthouse.

November 25–26, Saugatuck
Friday and Saturday

A horse-drawn carriage ride provides the perfect pace to take in all the creativity this artist’s colony has to offer. Explore downtown Douglas and Saugatuck in a new way with this laid-back tradition. After your ride, the annual tree lighting ceremony takes place on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Wicks Park.

December 3, Harbor Country
Saturday, 1- 4 p.m.

Sample wines at the Holiday Open House at the Round Barn Winery. Kids can make holiday decorations and take photos with Santa.

 

The Frankenmuth Oktoberfest

Celebrations at the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest - Photo Credit - Leigh Wolf

Celebrations at the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest began in Germany over 200 years ago, originally to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig. Since then, it has become an annual tradition in Germany with over 5 million visitors.

If a visit to Germany for Oktoberfest isn’t in the cards, you should consider a visit to Frankenmuth – Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” – this weekend for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. The Frankenmuth Oktoberfest began in 1990, to honor the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany. In 1996, the event was given an official blessing by the city of Munich, the first city given that distinction. Germany’s Hofbraeuhaus Brewery shipped its beer to Frankenmuth for their 1997 celebration, the first time it had been shipped outside of the country.

Oktoberfest Dancing - Photo Credit - Leigh Wolf

Oktoberfest Dancing

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