Travel Tuesday – Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival

My grandparent’s, Oscar and Lucille Lindsay, along with their mother’s Edith Lindsay and Elsie Mielke, visited Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival in 1949.

Here is a brief history of the Tulip Time Festival from Holland, Michigan’s tourism website.

History of Tulip Time Festival

Who would have predicted that the “Best Small Town Festival” in America, with over 500,000 people in attendance, grew out of a Woman’s Literary Club meeting in 1927? There, Miss Lida Rogers, a biology teacher at Holland High School, suggested that Holland adopt the tulip as its official flower and celebrate it with a festival.

The idea caught on, and the next year the City Council purchased 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands to plant in city parks and other areas. Bulbs were also available for Holland residents to purchase at one cent each. In the spring of 1929 thousands of tulips bloomed, and so did the long history of this annual festival. By the mid 1930’s, Tulip Time was nationally known. Big name stars like Dorothy Lamour, Pat O’Brien, and George Raft entertained at the festival.

Except for a brief hiatus during World War II, Tulip Time has continued to thrive. 1947 was a banner year, with the celebration of Holland’s Centennial and the strengthening of our Dutch ties. The Netherlands was grateful for the aid our citizens had provided following the war. In fact, the people of Amsterdam presented the City with the street organ that now entertains Windmill Island visitors. 1947 was also the first year of a long tradition: a visit from the governor of Michigan leading the street scrubbing ceremonies.

Another big year for Tulip Time was 1976. Holland received tremendous publicity through its float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade. And that year, the Tulip Time festival climaxed with the appearance of the President, West Michigan’s own Gerald R. Ford, in the Parade of Bands.  Each year, Tulip Time brings back time-honored traditions and enhances the festival with new ones.

Here’s some pictures that my grandparent’s took that day! Click on any of the photo’s for a slideshow of the pictures!

Happy Searching!


©Finding Mielke 2012


2 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday – Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival

  1. In all my time living in Michigan, I have never visited the Tulip Festival (or Holland, for that matter). I really wish some of those pictures had been in color. The black and white I’m sure doesn’t capture the beauty of the place quite as well.

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