Tulip Time announces changes for 2021 Holland festival

Cassandra Lybrink
Holland Sentinel

Holland – Tulip Time is going to look dramatically different next year, with fewer indoor events and time-based tickets required for most activities.

The nonprofit responsible for planning the festival, also named Tulip Time, announced its initial slate of events Dec. 17.

The festival, scheduled to take place May 1 to 9, will include the Tulip Time Artisan Market, Tulip Time Run, Dutch Marktplaats and a new Tulip Immersion Garden.

Currently, no indoor, fixed-seating events are being planned. Also in limbo are Dutch Dance performances, the carnival and parades, as festival planners await more timely news of progress against the pandemic in the spring.

In a May, 2019 file photo, a Dutch Marktplaats inside Holland Civic Center Place, is seen in Holland, Mich., during Tulip Time 2019.

The Tulip Time Artisan Market, which usually takes place at Centennial Park, has been moved to the outdoor grounds of Beechwood Church on Ottawa Beach Road. And it isn’t the only event being planned outside of downtown Holland.

“One of our strategies this year is to help spread out the grounds,” said Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda.

“We can’t have 500,000 people descend on downtown for a 10-day period. We need to fence everything in and have an entrance gate and count people coming in and out of every outdoor event, just like the downtown markets over the summer.”

The Tulip Time Run, scheduled for May 1, may be virtual or in-person, depending on current guidelines.

Planners are most excited about the new Tulip Immersion Garden, which will be available throughout the duration of the festival at Dunton Park in Holland, according to The Holland Sentinel.

“It’s going to be so fun,” Auwerda said. “I met the designer of the garden when he hosted the World Tulip Summit in 2019. He builds these installations that help raise the flowers out of the ground. We’re so thrilled to be the first host in the country.”

The garden will feature three or four sections that tell a story about the tulip – from its beginnings to its arrival in Holland.

For that exhibit, and others, an admission fee of less than $10 will be required to purchase a time-based ticket.

“People are accustomed to just showing up at Tulip Time,” Auwerda said. “But in order for us to manage the crowds and keep everyone safe, we’ll have those timed tickets.”

The sole indoor event being planned is the Dutch Marktplaats inside Holland Civic Center Place. The market will include the festival’s new Dutch Dance Costume Exhibit, which was originally scheduled for unveiling during Tulip Time 2020.

“We’re hoping we can have this one indoor event,” Auwerda said. “It’ll be one ticket for both, and the exhibit will have history and details about the costumes and some memorabilia from previous festivals.”

Not returning this year are the colorful Klompen Garden shoes debuted during Tulip Time 2019.

“A lot of artists picked those shoes back up after we canceled last year,” Auwerda said. “So, they won’t be available.”

More information will be available about the coming festival in the next few months, as vaccines are distributed across the country and safety guidelines are updated.

For now, merchandise featuring images from the poster for Tulip Time 2021 is available for purchase.

“It’s just another way to support Tulip Time during the winter season,” Auwerda said. “We’re continuing to fundraise. Many individual donors have given and we couldn’t be where we are today without the support of the community.”