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May 2, 2015

Tulip Time Festival 2015

by Anne Paddock

Looking for something fun to do next weekend? If you happen to be in the Des Moines, Iowa area, consider attending the 80th annual Tulip Time Festival which takes May 7-9, 2015 in Pella, Iowa, a beautiful town in central Iowa, about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines. Established in 1847 by a group of 800 Dutch immigrants, Pella is known throughout Iowa for its Dutch heritage, which is celebrated every year in early May.

Tulip_Time_Festival_PellaThe festival is held for three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) although the “Early Bird Preview” (museum, village, and city tours, markets and walk/runs) begin on Wednesday, May 6th. Featuring guided garden tours to see hundreds of thousands of beautiful tulip blooms (not to mention all the tulips in front of every Victorian home), the festival also features two parades per day – an afternoon and then a lighted evening parade – each with marching bands, traditional Dutch elements, and elaborate floats. Pella residents proudly wear their traditional Dutch costumes and wooden shoes for this annual celebration of heritage.Pella_Parade

The festival also has live performances, music, demonstrations (chocolate, rug braiding, painting and more), antique auto displays, craft show markets, a quilt show, inflatable rides, recitals, a tractor rodeo, and more. Food vendors and long-standing local favorites (Jaarsma Bakery and Vander Ploeg Bakery on the town square) offer a variety of traditional Dutch pastries and treats. The Smokey Row Coffee Company and the Brew Coffee House offer robust cups of coffee. For a sit down lunch, consider Monarchs in the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, also off the central square or Kaldera, a local restaurant at 1205 Washington Street (4 blocks west of the central square) or Pella’s answer to the American diner – the Windmill Cafe (709 Franklin Street) on the historic square.Tulip_TIme_Pella_Iowa

More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the Tulip Time Festival in Pella this year. What better way to commemorate the town’s Dutch heritage? To read more about the festival and obtain a schedule of weekend activities, go to

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