PELLA, Iowa — Every year, thousands of people travel to Pella just in time to see its hundreds of thousands of tulips bloom. This annual festival, Tulip Time, is also a celebration of Pella's rich Dutch heritage, including everything from parades to a Dutch Market to live music and entertainment.
Organizers say there will be no COVID restrictions for the festival this year, after canceling the festival in 2020 and enforcing COVID restrictions during the festival in 2021.
Some of the events are free, such as the parades and admission to the market — and of course, the tullips. Others like Grandstand acts, are ticketed. Tickets for the Grandstand can be purchased at the corner of Frank and Main streets, including $10 for bleacher seats and $5 for park seats.
Grandstand performances this year showcase a variety of Dutch cultural traditions. Things like traditional singing and dances, an historic Dutch costume style show, presentation of the Tulip Queen and her court and many other things will fill the stage over the course of the three days.
Also for sale during the festival is a delicious array of Dutch foods, including the ones sold by the Vander Ploeg Bakery, which opened in 1893. Jeff Wichert, the owner, spends his mornings preparing pastries like Dutch Letters.
He and his staff will make 20,000 Dutch Letters over the course of the next three days.
"What goes into a Dutch Letter, it's like a three-day process," Wichert said. "Because you make the dough the first day, and then the dough has to refrigerate overnight, or sometimes two days to make it better. And then we roll in our almond paste, cinnamon and sugar. It's a whole process."
To find out more about the Tulip Time Festival, go to pellatuliptime.com.