TULIP TIMING: Early Blooms Bring Early Visitors

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Pella is picture perfect with beds of tulips blooming across town. The only problem is the town's annual Tulip Time is still three weeks away.

Mother Nature brought an early spring and an early crop of tulips to Pella. So, you may want to take a road trip this weekend if you want to see the tulips in top condition.

Resident Willa Hart says, "They've just been beautiful." The flowers may be beautiful, but early. It seems no one talked to the tulips about timing.

Hart says, "I'm so sorry they won't be nice for tulip time, but then again, we have other things for tulip time besides flowers."

Tulip Time is May 3, 4 and 5. Tulips typically last three to four weeks, and since the blooms are looking their best now, many won't still be standing for the annual festival.  Pella Chamber Director Karen Eischen says, "All we can do is take advantage of what we're given, and with the tulips in just their prime blooming and in season right now, it's a great time to come look at them."

And thousands are visiting. Nancy Krukow and her friends made a day trip to see the tulips. She says, "I think they're gorgeous, all the different flowers. They're awesome."

The early visitors are helping boost business around town, like at Vander Ploeg Bakery. Manager Marie Van Roekel says, "It has just been very busy. People are coming to town to see the tulips, and we're happy to have them."

But, don't think people in Pella haven't tried to slow down the blooms, even trying some interesting methods. Eischen says, "One of the unconventional ways that was experimented with was a solution of whiskey to water in a particular ratio. They tried a few solutions, and you spray the tulips, and it is, in theory, supposed to slow them down."

Eischen says we'll have to wait and see if that keeps more of the blooms around for the town's biggest weekend of the year. But, flowers or not, she says people will still pack the Pella parks the first weekend of May. She says, "Tulips are kind of the icing on the cake."

Organizers are expecting a big crowd to come back to Pella for Tulip Time May 3rd-5th. The 77th celebration features daily parades, Dutch dancing and lots of traditional Dutch food.

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