Each spring, Mother Nature blankets Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley with hundreds of acres of living color—tulips, iris, peonies—in hues that rival the rainbow. Although the timing of each flower’s peak bloom varies each season, the tulips pretty much lead the way. This year’s month-long Tulip Fest at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon continues through April 30. And with 40 acres of tulips and daffodils to wander through, it’s never the same view twice— the fields are rotated annually, so the arrangement of colorful varieties is always changing. Don’t forget your camera! The striking blooms make the prettiest backdrops for photos.
Tulip Fest has been popular with locals and tourists alike for over 20 years. The Iverson family, owners of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, began growing tulips in 1974, but it wasn’t until Easter weekend 1986 that their fields were first opened to the public. If you don’t mind crowds, weekends at Wooden Shoe are especially lively with the addition of entertainment, wine tasting, a crafters market, and pony rides for the kids. The Tulip Café offers sandwiches, sausages, burgers, elephant ears, kettle corn, espresso drinks, and more. Weekdays are more mellow, and the admission is only $5 per vehicle, as opposed to $10 on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re a green thumb or a wannabe, browse in Wooden Shoe’s extensive gift shop where cut flowers, potted tulips, gardening supplies, and bulbs for fall planting can be purchased. If you need help or advice on anything concerning tulips, don’t be shy. The Woodburn Tulip Festival is not only filled with fun, it’s staffed with experts who love to share their knowledge.
Did you know that the tulip is actually native to central Asia— in the region near modern day Islamabad, Pakistan? From there, tulips spread to other regions, especially the Netherlands, where they became all the rage more than 400 years ago. In 1849, the first bollenreiziger, or traveling bulb salesman, came to the United States from Holland. America is now the top tulip bulb importer, followed closely by Japan and Germany.
As you stroll through Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, remember to look UP once in a while. During clear and calm weather, hot air balloons float over the fields. And snow-capped majestic Mount Hood looms on the horizon, too!
IF YOU GO:
27th Annual Tulip Fest
March 30 – April 30, 2012 • Daily 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
33814 S. Meridian Rd., Woodburn, OR 97071 • Phone (503) 634-2243
Admission on weekends is $10 per vehicle (includes parking and admission for all occupants); weekdays it is $5 per vehicle. Season passes are available for repeat entry during the run of the Tulip festival for $40.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com