Tulip Time Festival is an annual festival held in Holland, Michigan. Tulip festivals are held in many cities around the United States of America that were founded or largely inhabited by Dutch settlers. It has been held every year in mid-May since 1929 and is currently the largest tulip festival in the United States. The festival currently runs from the first Saturday in May through the second Sunday.
Activities at the celebration include three parades, fireworks, a Dutch Market, various shows and concerts, a craft fair, klompen dancing, and street scrubbing. The city of Holland has thousands of tulips lining the streets and in special tulip gardens throughout the city. It has been ranked as America's third-largest town festival and named Reader's Digest's best small town festival.
Tulip Time's roots can be traced to a 1927 community beautification project. Lida Rogers, a biology teacher at Holland High School, suggested Holland adopt the tulip as its flower due to the city's close ties to The Netherlands.
In 1928, City council approved funding to import 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands and plant them in city parks. The next year, the city invited visitors to come during the week including May 15. The success prompted an annual event to be born. During World War II, Tulip Time was scaled back, returning with a four-day festival in 1946.
The 1947 festival was geared towards celebrating Holland, Michigan's centennial. A tradition was started that year when Michigan's governor, Kim Sigler, donned a Dutch costume and took part in the festivities. As America celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, Tulip Time was honored with the presence of President Gerald R. Ford, a Michigander who had formerly represented nearby Grand Rapids in the United States Congress.
In 1991, Tulip Time expanded from four to ten days. In 2001, the festival was shortened to eight days and moved up a week to better coincide with when the tulips were in bloom. A carnival was added in 2003.
In 2008, the outdoor concert series, renamed Tulipalooza, was moved to the Sixth Street Stage at 6th street and College Ave.
The Tulip Time festival has hosted performances and appearances by many well known artists and public figures.
2000 featured a concert by pop star Christina Aguilera.
2001 had a concert by the boy band O-Town.
2007 hosted Bruce Hornsby.
2014 hosted comedian Bill Cosby.
The festival is mentioned in 2005 The Simpsons episode "Mobile Homer" as one of the places that Homer wishes he could take his RV.