Where to Stop and Smell the Tulips This Month
Three tulip festivals to check out now.
April 16, 2018
April showers bring May flowers, but you don’t need to wait that long to get your flower fix. Farms across the Fraser Valley and beyond transform into a sea of colour this month as the biggest and brightest displays of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths bloom into life. Visit these family-friendly and Instagram-worthy flower festivals while the pretty petals last.
1. Tulips of the Valley, Chilliwack
The oldest tulip festival in the region, and the biggest, Tulips of the Valley transforms a working farm into a florist’s paradise with 20 acres of tulips in more than 30 varieties.
Although it’s still a bit cold for tulips, the frequently ’grammed festival kicked off earlier this month with five acres of specialty double daffodils and hyacinths. Tulips are expected to start blooming this week until the end of the month, depending on the weather.
Remember, as much as you may dream of laying in the middle of a field with Mt. Cheam rising majestically behind you, tulips are delicate and this is a working farm. Explore the fields from the safety of the perimeter and the Tulip Path that cuts through the centre of the field.
In addition to photo ops, the festival also offers hyacinth mosaics, family-friendly craft activities, Dutch treats and bouquet sales. If the sun comes out, you can also pack a picnic to enjoy on the lawn.
Tulips of the Valley is open daily through April 29 (with possible extension to May 6); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays; 41310 Yale Road, Chilliwack; tulipsofthevalley.com
2. Bloom: The Abbotsford Tulip Festival, Abbotsford
A little closer to YVR, the floral fun continues at Bloom: The Abbotsford Tulip Festival, which opened last week and expects to attract 90 thousand visitors throughout its duration.
Right now, the “low bloom” weeks offer more green than colour, but third-generation tulip farmer and festival organizer Alexis Warmerdam expects more than 2.5 million tulips to bloom across 10 acres over the next three weeks.
Now in its third year, the festival also offers wannabe florists the opportunity to create your own bouquet in the U-pick tulip field, as well as channelling your inner Meghan Markle in tulip crown photos.
It’s worth buying discounted tickets online ahead of time, particularly for the “high bloom” weekends, when adult tickets peak at $25 at the gate and are expected to sell out. Low bloom tickets are currently available at a reduced price. Abbotsford locals can take advantage of reduced rates on Tuesdays and Thursdays after 3 p.m.
Bloom is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through May 11; 36737 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford; abbotsfordtulipfestival.ca
3. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington
Moving slightly further afield, North America’s biggest tulip celebration is only a hop, skip and jump over the border.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a little different, not only because it’s in the United States, but also because it’s essentially a driving tour of millions of tulips across several farms in the area.
The main attractions are the tulip gardens at Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde farms, but festival events include a tulip bike ride on April 21, a woodworking display and competition, and a weekend salmon barbeque. Festival executive director Cindy Verge recommends visitors explore the gardens, but also the associated events in the towns of Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley, which will cater to the 350,000 visitors expected to stream across the valley throughout April.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs now through April 30. For more information, visit tulipfestival.org