For many of us, a guaranteed way to bring a smile to our face is gazing upon the natural beauty of flowers. And there are few things more beautiful and invigorating than the explosion of colour gracing many of America’s best-known springtime flower festivals.
From tulips to daffodils and roses, there are a great many flower festivals held across the vast country during April and May. As the cold winter temperatures slowly fade away, the country bursts with activity, warmth and optimism. Spring is the perfect time of year to enjoy a fabulous holiday tour of America.
If you are hoping to enjoy some amazing floral exhibitions during the American spring – or planning that perfect holiday for the future – here are some of the country’s most well-known and well-attended flower festivals to help welcome in warmer temperatures.
Tulips, Tulips, Tulips
One of the most iconic spring flowers, the colourful tulip is celebrated in cities across America. This Dutch import has come to symbolise the warmer temperatures and rebirth of the season. From diverse locations like upstate New York, the upper Midwest in Michigan, to the Pacific Northwest in Washington State, the tulip is a beloved annual flower that blossoms in April and May.
Albany Tulip Festival, New York State
Celebrating its 68th year, the annual Albany Tulip Festival will take place in the New York state capital over the first full weekend of May. The event features more than 150 different tulip varieties. Started just after World War II, the event takes place throughout an 81-acre city park on 7-8 May.
“The Tulip Festival is Albany’s signature spring event, featuring annual traditions rooted in the city’s rich Dutch heritage,” said Jason Bonafide, a spokesman for the city. “There will be nearly one hundred artisans selling their handmade crafts, a fine arts show, delicious food, the KidZone family fun destination, and two stages of world-class live entertainment.”
The event – which coincides with the American Mother’s Day celebration – has grown into one of the north-eastern US’ biggest and most beloved yearly events, Bonafide said.
Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan
Moving west, the state of Michigan hosts an equally well-attended tulip festival. Consistently named among North America’s Top 100 Events and recently recognized by the World Tulip Summit Society as one of the World Top 5 Tulip Festivals, the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan is a springtime gem. The week-long event will be held from 7-14 May in 2016.
The City of Holland is one of the most beautiful cities in the nation,” said Susan Zalnis, a spokesperson for the Tulip Time Festival. “Tulip Time parades are some of the largest and most spectacular events in Michigan. Thousands of spectators line the streets to watch amazing floats, marching bands, Dutch Dancers and numerous organizations present their finest in over two miles of pure celebration.”
The festival began in 1929 to help beautify the City of Holland with tulips, as well as celebrate the Dutch heritage within the community. For five consecutive years, Holland has been recognized for Outstanding Achievement by America in Bloom. Holland has also earned positions on many national rankings including: “America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes; “America’s Best Main Street 2014” by Parade Magazine; “19 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America” by Impulcity.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington State
In the Pacific Northwest, there is yet another fantastic celebration of the Dutch flower. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is in its 33rd year and has a habit of welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. For the entire month of April, people flock to Washington to enjoy the flowers. There is a wide range of events for visitors to enjoy – from street fairs and art shows to athletic events. There is a tulip bike ride, a tulip run and a 110-team basketball tournament to enjoy.
“The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival truly is a community endeavour – thousands of volunteers help – with festival activities in all the corners of the area,” said festival spokesperson Cindy Verge.
For more information on the festival, please visit the event website
The Nation’s Other Flower Festivals
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Orlando, Florida
America’s beloved theme park may already have a lot of reasons for you to visit. But the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Disney World has been described by attendees as an annual event not to be missed. It offers themed flower and garden displays, as well as live music and events for the kids. Get all the details on the flower festival here.
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C.
One of the most iconic flower events in the nation is Washington D.C.’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. Dependent on the weather and the trees that line the city’s landmarks and waterways, the festival celebrates not only the delicate pink flowers of the trees but also celebrates the contributions by Japanese immigrants to the country. Coinciding with the blossoms, the two-week festival offers a number of cultural, athletic and culinary-inspired events. For more information and likely timings of the blossoms, visit the organiser’s website.
Dallas Blooms, Texas
Texas may be best known for yellow roses, but the Dallas Blooms event brings together quite a few more beautiful flowers as well. Held each spring at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the event feature more than 400,000 spring-blooming bulbs, as many as 6,000 azaleas and thousands of other annuals and perennials. The event is on the centre’s 66-acre garden, and includes live music, food, and even some local celebrities.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Northern Virginia
At the end of April, the Shenandoah Valley in northern Virginia comes into bloom with the annual Apple Blossom Festival. Attracting more than 250,000 visitors, the festival features dances, parades, a circus, and, of course, the apple tree blossoms. For more information about the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, please visit the event website.
Rose Festival, Portland, Oregon
Back in the country’s west coast, spring makes way for the beginnings of summer with the iconic Rose Festival in Portland, Oregon. Known as the Rose City, more than 2 million visitors will enjoy the event. There is the Grand Floral Parade featuring floats and decorations of flowers and blooms. There is also a waterfront village with events for those young and old. For more information about the Portland Rose Festival visit, http://www.rosefestival.org.