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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Tulip blooms a sight to behold

Colors found in the fields of the Willamette Valley stagger the imagination. The annual tulip festival is part of spring in Western Oregon. (Mike Broadwater)
Mike Brodwater Correspondent

Spring is official when the tulips emerge from their winter home. The Northwest is fortunate to have two spectacular tulip festivals to view the process. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington is the best known. But there is another festival equally as beautiful in Oregon, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. The diversity of sizes, colors, shapes and kinds of flowers that grow from bulbs is the true show of nature at its best.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Fields of yellow, red, deep purple, white, pink and orange blooms surround farm buildings. In the distance, the snow-capped Cascade Mountains frame the scene. The sight is unforgettable.

The Skagit County Tulip Festival around Mount Vernon north of Seattle can be a very memorable weekend. The colors are outrageous – acres and acres of tulips, daffodils and iris to feast the eyes on. You only need to go once to remember the sights but many go back again.

It’s a win-win situation for all involved in the Skagit Valley. The farmers have a cash crop, the local towns reap the tourist dollars, and the visitors revel in the annual color show in the fields.

Each year the weather can effect the bloom time for the crop. Of course, those years when it all comes together at the same time creates the best time to go. The festival runs in April, and there are blooming flowers in the display gardens – because of the many varieties planted – for the entire month. There is a website and a telephone number that gives updates on the condition of the crops. The bulb merchants have planted labeled flower beds in well-designed and groomed display gardens. The display gardens are as entertaining as the colorful fields of flowers.

This year, thanks to warmer weather, the festival organizers are anticipating an earlier bloom. Tulip Town opened Saturday.

Info: The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, or (360) 428-5959

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

Colorful and popular tulip blooms with names like Queen of the Night, Blushing Beauty, Tahiti, Apricot Beauty and Orange Emperor embellish the landscape in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Stop, read those names again and imagine the colors they represent.

Those colors and many more are mixed in the fields along with antique farm equipment, display garden and a windmill. There are 40 acres of tulips on this farm near Woodburn, Oregon. Incredibly there is more to the view. The tall, snowy, dormant volcano Mount Hood sits on the horizon overlooking the colorful fields. All of this provides an uncommon visual feast to enjoy.

Info: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, or (503) 949-8952