OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Thousands of tulips sprout in Holland every year during the Tulip Time festival, but what you may not know is that many of those are dedicated to someone special.
"I think it's a really nice way to honor somebody," said Mark Dykema.
Each spring, Holland's main avenue blossoms into a 'rainbow road,' especially during the festival.
The gardens and shops along 8th Street are a beloved part of the city, and the Blooming Bed program allows people to donate to Tulip Time's annual fund while also honoring a loved one.
"It's a great way to honor somebody to whom Tulip Time was a very special thing," Dykema said, "like my family and I do with my sister."
Mark's sister, Shannon, passed away in 2017 from Acute Myeloid Leukemia at just 33 years old.
"Prior to that, she loved to come to Tulip Time, and she was involved in many ways," Mark said, "so, it's a really fun and special way to honor her legacy and we still get to have her involved in some of the family pictures."
"When Shannon passed away, we just thought it was a great idea to participate in that," said Mary Dykema, Shannon's mother, "and because she loved Tulip Time so much, have her be a part of it in that way."
In the months leading up to the Tulip Time Festival, people can buy one of the more than 30 beds along 8th street to dedicate it someone. Each bed is marked with a personalized, messaged sign.
All of the proceeds go straight back into Tulip Time's non-profit annual fund.
"I think having the Blooming Beds make it more real," Mark said. "I think it's one of those things where visitors can point and they can say 'oh, this is a real thing and this is important to real people who live in this city.'"
"We come down every year, we find her bed on 8th Street and we take family pictures by it," Mary added, "and it's just a great way to still keep her involved. And we'll continue to do it forever."
You can learn more about the Blooming Beds Program at Tulip Time by clicking here.
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