OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Thousands flocked to Holland this weekend for the first full capacity Tulip Time festival in two years. A cold April had organizers worried, but as the temperatures warmed leading into the events start, timing of tulip blooms could not have worked out better to attract a crowd.
The festival has been dearly missed by locals and visitors alike. Linda Hart, Executive Director of the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said one of her favorite parts of the nine-day festival is looking at all the different license plates to see how far people have come to see the flowers.
Along with the crowds come money spent in the city. Hart said an Economic impact study from 2016 showed Tulip Time generating $48 million for Holland.
"[Saturday's] numbers that we had, in speaking with a lot of the merchants and a lot of the restaurants," Hart said, "record breaking numbers even from previous years, so people are coming out and people are spending their money."
She says opening weekend is a great sign. With the weather expected to stay warm and sunny enough for the tulips to keep blooming, she believes that pace will maintain, and 2022 could be the biggest Tulip Time the city has seen.
"People are down here just to see the parades and the tulips," said Jakie Teja, who has been to more than 30 Tulip Time Festivals. "However, it can mean people come back at quieter times and shop our stores downtown."
Teja was celebrating Mother's Day with her family at Tulip Time. She says it's not always a tradition for Mother's Day, but when given the choice of a nice meal at home or the chance to 'eat junk food, wander around and see the tulips', she said it was a no brainer.
Hart, a board member of the festival as well as the executive director of the Visitors Bureau, said she doesn't expect the festival close to be the end of the tulip bloom. Tulip Time ends May 15, but she expects a large crowd to head back to Holland the weekend following, giving even more of a boost to local businesses.
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