Tulip Festival returns to Orange City after being canceled last year

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 12:28 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The highly anticipated Tulip Festival has returned to Orange City, Iowa and, the city’s tulips are in full bloom for the event’s 80th anniversary.

Each year, Orange City welcomes thousands from near and far for the big event.

“It’s just a special time to hear marching bands, lots of people are lining the parade route, and there are tulips down the parade route, I just love all colors and the sounds,” Jenon Scallon, a member of the Tulip Festival Steering Committee, said.

Like many things, last year’s festival was canceled because of COVID-19. But it has returned for 2021.

“It’s special to be together again and work to welcome so many people to our community,” Scallon said.

The 2021 Tulip Queen, Grace Dahl, says the community will be sure never to take the event for granted after it wasn’t able to take place in 2020.

“I think the town realized it’s not a guarantee every year,” Dahl said.

Dahl says being the Tulip Queen is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and getting voted festival royalty is something she’ll cherish forever.

“The longer that I’ve been the queen, I’ve gotten to see just how much time and effort goes into every little thing that this town does for the Tulip Festival,” Dahl said.

A celebration of Orange City’s rich Dutch heritage, the festival has brought the community together for decades.

“I honestly feel like I get transported back to second grade or third grade, every time I come back (to the Tulip Festival) I feel like it’s a little portal back to that and all the memories,” Dahl said.

The event features community members wearing traditional Dutch attire, authentic Dutch food, and of course, a tulip garden with thousands of colorful flowers.

“Wearing these costumes, going through the process of making them, and preparing for the festival traditions, it’s really a great way to connect with our ancestry and heritage, and we also enjoy people coming to learn about that as well,” Scallon said.

The 80th Tulip Festival is May 13-15.

For a full schedule of Tulip Festival events, click here.

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