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Tulip Time organizers prepare for 2021 festival

Organizers plan to host gated, outdoor festivities, and attendees will likely be asked to wear a mask.

HOLLAND, Mich. — Tulip Time organizers are at work in the downtown Holland office, preparing for Spring of 2021.

The group was actively fundraising all summer long, after cancelling their 2020 festival due to COVID-19. They are within reach of their $1 million goal.

"We are at about 95% of that goal, so fabulous. Thank you to the community," Executive Director, Gwen Auwerda, said.

Looking ahead, Auwerda is trying to finalize plans by January for what Tulip Time events will look like in May.

"We plan a year in advance for our festivals, so come January we’re really going to have to push forward," she said, "The overall goal is to have a festival of some sort. It will look very different from what people have experienced in the past."

Auwerda said the festivities are made up of outdoor events right now to keep up with safety regulations. They will coincide with CDC COVID-19 guidelines.

"Things will have to be gated if they’re outdoor events, so we can count how many people are there…masks will likely be required everywhere even though you’re outside in a six-foot social distance," Auwerda said.

She added her team is using money conservatively, noting the office is currently operating with 3/4 the employees it was last year.

"A year ago this time we would have been putting deposits down on all of our entertainment. So, not knowing if we can be inside at a seated venue, we have saved those expenses," she said.

The team also commissioned local artist Aron Lowe to make 2021's Tulip Time poster. Lowe won the festival's art competition last year, but was unable to fully experience the victory.

"I was looking forward to doing the art fair downtown...and be in a car in the parade, so hopefully I’ll get to do it this time around," Lowe said.

Auwerda said she doesn't know what will happen in the future, but is working to stay ahead of any issues.

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"We're planning based on what’s in effect today, and if it loosens up great. If it tightens up, we know how to handle that," she said.

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Tulip Time is set to announce its official Spring 2020 plans this January.

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