While our RV was getting some repair work done in LaGrange, Indiana we took three days to head north to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan. Tulip Time celebrates tulips, Dutch heritage, and the Holland, Michigan community. The area was settled in 1847 by Dutch leader, Dr. Albertus Van Raalte who emigrated with a group of people to escape dire economic conditions and religious persecution in the Netherlands.
In 1928 the city planted tulip bulbs imported from the Netherlands and planted them along street curbs and in parks, a tradition that continues to this day. The first Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan occurred in 1930 and is now very popular.
There are many areas around town to see tulips. The Tulip Immersion experience had signs with information about the origin of the tulip. Did you know that in 1000 AD, Turkey was the first country to plant and cultivate tulips? The Dutch did not start cultivating tulips until 1593 and only the wealthy could afford them. Today the Netherlands produces 3 billion tulip bulbs a year with the U.S. being the top importer!
At Windmill Garden Island you can see DeZwaan, an authentic, 250-year-old working Dutch windmill (that you can climb inside) that is the centerpiece of the attraction’s 36 acres of gardens. It is the only Dutch windmill in the US that grinds locally grown wheat into flour.
Different varieties of tulips can be seen at Veldheer Tulip Farm. If you see a tulip variety that you like you can order bulbs to plant in the fall. Too bad we live in an RV! There is also a wooden shoe factory and Delft China factory.
Of course there was a parade and Dutch dancing. It was near 90 degrees so we felt sorry for those wearing the Dutch costumes and band uniforms. But as a local said, “Don’t worry, we Michiganders are tough”!
As festivals go, this one had everything: beauty, culture, music, history. And even a lighthouse near town on the shore of Lake Michigan!
After enjoying the festival we made our way back to Indiana to pick up our home. Thanks to Cross RV all the repairs were done!