Hear from Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda today on Daybreak.
HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time is forging ahead with plans for its 2021 festival after the 2020 event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tulip Time will run May 1 to May 9.
“I think it means a lot. So many of the downtown shops and restaurant say that Tulip Time gives them the shot in the arm to get into the summer tourist season after the winter,” Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda told News 8. “This last year, not only did Tulip Time not happen, but they were all closed due to the stay-home order, so it’s really been difficult for a lot of these businesses. So I think to look forward to spring and getting back outside and having some fun in a great festive way, to celebrate our community and the tulips is just going to be fabulous.”
But the festival will look different from Tulip Times past in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. While vaccines are being distributed now, they likely won’t be available to everyone before Tulip Time and mitigation protocols are expected to have to continue well into the year.
“While the world is still full of uncertainty, we do know that millions of tulips have been planted in Holland, Michigan, and they will burst forth this coming spring,” the festival said in a statement.
Organizers said they will follow guidance from federal, state and local health officials and are also making changes in the name of health safety.
Still up in the air are Dutch Dance performances, the carnival and Tulip Time’s famous parades. Organizers say if they decide it’s safe enough to have a parade, it will be Saturday, May 8, and there will be no grandstand.
The Saturday Tulip Time parade is generally the Muziekparade. This makes it seem unlikely that the Volksparade, which Michigan’s governor traditionally attends in Dutch costume, or the Kinderparade for children will go forward.
More events will be held outside downtown Holland to keep people spread out, and tickets will come with specific times to keep the number of attendees limited and separated. None of the indoor events will have fixed seating.
The festival will feature an Artisan Market on May 1 and 2 outside Beechwood Church on Ottawa Beach Road; the Tulip Time Run on May 1, which people may participate in in person or virtually; a new Tulip Immersion Garden at Dunton Park; and the Dutch Markplaats with a new Dutch Dance Costume Exhibit at Holland Civic Center Place May 1 through May 9.
After the 2020 festival was canceled, Tulip Time organizers said they would need to raise $1 million in donations to keep the event alive, citing nonrefundable spending on that year’s preparations and ticket refunds.
“We are about 98% of the way there (to the $1 million goal), and I am so thankful to this generous community of donors who have really helped us stay alive, if you will, and be able to bring a festival to you in 2021,” Auwerda said.
Tulip Time says it attracts some 500,000 visitors to Holland each year.