Tulip Time: Celebrating Dutch heritage for 87 years

 

Back in 1929, the city of Holland welcomed visitors for its first Tulip Time Festival in celebration of the community’s Dutch heritage. The response was so great that they made it an annual event. This year, the festival marks 87 years of Dutch traditional costumes, wooden shoes, parades, Klompen dancing, and more than five million vibrant tulips.

In this video, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof discusses visiting the festival growing up in West Michigan and the tremendous impact it has on the local economy.

In 2015, the Tulip Time Festival attracted an estimated 500,000 people who contributed $12.9 million to the West Michigan economy. Of the visitors surveyed last year, nearly 40 percent came from outside of Michigan and roughly two-thirds planned to return to the area for other recreational activities.

Readers Digest has named it the “Best Small Town Festival in America,” and USA Today readers recently voted Tulip Time as “America’s Best Flower Festival.”

One of the highlights of the festival each year is the Volksparade, in which thousands of locals in traditional Dutch costumes scrub the street. As has been the case for decades, several state officials — including Sen. Meekhof and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker — donned traditional Dutch costumes and wooden shoes this year and joined in the street scrubbing festivities!