Eighth annual Festival of Tulips’ opening weekend declared best ever

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

MONTEVALLO – After weeks of buildup and anticipation, American Village held its opening weekend for the eighth annual Festival of Tulips in a celebration that drew the largest crowd in the event’s history on Saturday, Feb. 24.

“Our opening weekend for this year’s Festival of Tulips was our best ever,” said Melanie Poole, communications officer for American Village. “It was marvelous, we had over 2,000 guests (this first weekend). This was our eighth annual event and it is the best we have ever had.”

In addition to welcoming the largest opening weekend crowd in the event’s history, Poole also confirmed that the number of tulips that came out of the field over the course of the weekend was also higher than any of the eight preceding years. Current counts indicate that at least 10 percent of the entire crop of tulips went home with members of the crowd.

Following that measured success, only 10 percent of the tulips that remain are in bloom, with the rest yet to reach that desirable stage. Organizers have been quick to remind visitors, and those following the event on social media, that although the fields may appear to be “picked over,” following the opening weekend, the best has yet to come.

“As each day goes by, we will have more and more tulips blooming, but the majority of them are still in bud (at this time),” Poole said. “We are posting pictures of the field every day but we are not yet at peak bloom—when the majority of the flowers are open. We expect that to be in another week and we will let everyone know once that happens.”

With thousands of tulips having yet to bloom, the event is also likely to continue for several weeks and will continue to invite crowds to the grounds each weekend to bring a small part of the collection home with them.

“The festival will be open as long as we have flowers in bloom,” Poole said. “Typically, that is at least three to four weeks, but it all depends on mother nature and the flowers and, of course, on the public.”

Not just open on the weekends, American Village Festival of Tulips is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. and on Sundays from noon-4 p.m.

Admission to the family friendly event costs $5 per person, with children aged 4 and under being offered free entry. In respect for their service, dedication and personal sacrifice, veterans and active serving members of the military will also be allowed free entry. Tulips, with the bulb included, are $2 each and will remain available as long as there are tulips left in the field.

Poole also made mention of how the weather has cooperated to make this year’s tulip crop one of the most successful in the event’s history.

“The weather could not have been better this weekend,” Poole said. “The tulips do not like hot weather, so when our temperatures inch up into the 80s they don’t really like it—they are a cool weather flower and so far, they are doing great.”

That cool and dry weather also allowed American Village to provide guests additional entertainment on the grounds with the organization of a soldiers’ encampment that took place from Saturday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 25. Saturday also saw the performance of a puppet show for children to enjoy and Sunday offered visitors the ability to learn about apothecary medications from the 18th century.

This opening weekend also saw another first in the form of food trucks being welcomed into the event, a new part of the event which will welcome a variety of food trucks each Saturday throughout the festival.

“This is actually the first year that we have offered food trucks at the Festival of Tulips and everybody was happy,” Poole said. “All of our vendors were extremely pleased.”

For the first weekend, Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee Truck, Nawlins Style Po Boys, Terrific Treatz and Moe’s and Moore’s BBQ all worked to make sure that the visitors at the event were able to sample local flavor while enjoying the sights of the festival.

While further weeks’ schedules have yet to be settled upon, American Village has announced that Sunshine Lemonade, C’s Cake and Coffee, Parasol Treats and On the Run Concessions will serve visitors as they peruse the fields and take their pick of the tulips on Saturday, March 2.

Due to tulips being harvested as they bloom, event organizers encourage the public to stay up to date on the festival and the status of the flowers by checking American Village’s website at Americanvillage.org/2024-festival-of-tulips and their social media pages before making the trip to the festival each weekend.