Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is an annual event held in the beautiful Skagit Valley of Washington State, USA. The festival is a county-wide celebration throughout the month of April, that centers around the blooming of millions of tulips. Photo by The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

#GSVMemberMonday Feature

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has been one of the premier destination events for the Pacific Northwest for decades. The Festival is held from April 1-30 and celebrates millions of tulips bursting into bloom, showcases Skagit Valley agriculture, and invites thousands of visitors to the Skagit Valley annually. People from across the United States and from around the world come to visit the #MagicSkagit during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Last year, visitors came from over 39 states as well as various countries including Bazil, Singapore, Austria, England and Canada. The tulip festival generates an estimated 65 million in revenue for the local economy.

The fields of tulips are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley as are the many events and activities that comprise the festival. The tulip fields are the crops of RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co., Inc.  Due to crop rotation, the fields are in different locations each year. Four tulip gardens (Garden Rosalyn, RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town and Tulip Valley Farms) also have displays of tulips for visitors to view, photograph and enjoy.

Tulip Town dazzles in full bloom. Photograph by The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Facts and History of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was officially inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. Chamber directors Jerry Diggerness and Joan Houchen saw that people were coming by the thousands to view the tulips and, through a retreat, decided to add events and festivities to enhance the visitors’ trip to the Skagit Valley. In 1994 the Tulip Festival branched off from the Chamber of Commerce and became an entity of its own, eventually opening a separate office and store.

From humble beginnings, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival grew. It moved from 2 days to 10, then 17 and then to 30 days. The expansion to 30 days was to ensure that the huge fields of tulips grown in Skagit Valley by Washington Bulb Co./RoozenGaarde would actually bloom sometime during the festival, since a shorter festival sometimes missed the blooming of the fields.

Today, about 1,000 acres of tulips and daffodils are grown in Skagit County, sold for both cut flowers and bulbs and shipped throughout the U.S. and Canada. That makes more tulip and daffodil bulbs produced in Skagit County than in any county in the United States! About 20 million bulbs are harvested each summer. About 500 acres of tulips are grown in Skagit County, accounting for 75% of U.S. commercial production. (Source: Washington State University Skagit County Extension 2021 agriculture statistics)

Roozengaaarde tulips in bloom. Photo by Crowell Photography.

The tulip festival boasts an amazing assortment of events. You will find several art shows, a gala celebration, and a even a pickleball tournament. The annual signature events are ready for you in 2024 — including the annual tulip parade on April 6th in downtown La Conner. More entries are welcomed in this year’s Tulip Festival parade on Saturday, April 6th and interested participants can sign up HERE. Other events this month include the downtown Mount Vernon street fair (along first street in downtown Mount Vernon), the family-friendly PACCAR Technical Center Open House, and the famous Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue.

Nicole Roozen is the Executive Director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Nicole joined the organization in 2023 after the retirement of long-time tulip festival director Cindy Verge.  We recently caught up with Nicole and asked her what her team’s favorite #SkagitGrown crop was:

“It should come as no surprise, but TULIPS are our favorite crop. Why? First, they’re beautiful. Second, the tulips create a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the scenery, businesses, people, events and more in our valley. They bring people here from all over the world and help generate over $65 million dollars to our local economy during the spring bloom. ”

We also asked Nicole if she had a favorite variety of tulip. With so many choices, we knew this might be tricky to answer, but Nicole was happy to answer for us:

“Its hard to choose just one, but my absolute favorite variety of tulip are the double tulips and I particularly love the variety called Finola, which is a blush pink with hints of green and white.”

Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

With the Tulip Festival now in full swing for the month of April, it’s a great time to purchase your tickets to visit the gardens and attend the events. Can’t make it to the event this year? Be sure to check out the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival online store for posters and merchandise commemorating this year’s event.

The Mission of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is to coordinate and promote a countywide Spring celebration of the tulip bloom, in commemoration of the valley’s annual tulip harvest, and to be an advocate for Skagit Valley agriculture. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate agriculture than recognizing the accompliments of the team at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Thank you for supporting Genuine Skagit Valley on this #GSVMemberMonday !

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