The 90th festival began May 4 and runs through May 12, and features three parades: Volksparade, Kinderparade and Muziekparade on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
Parade viewers have the option of paying $30 per person, per parade to watch the festivities from the Civic Center. The ticket allows general admission from the street-level marketplace room with chairs provided and a cash bar, but does not include parking. Doors open at 10 a.m., with buffet lunch and concessions available for additional purchase.
“It’s a great option no matter what the weather will be,” said Tulip Time Communications Manager Simone Weithers. “The indoor-outdoor seating at the Civic Center gives closer access to bathrooms, the Dutch buffet, and there will be a beer tent.”
People who choose to bring their own blanket or chair can watch the parade from the curbside. The city of Holland has a rule that items cannot be set up earlier than 6 a.m. the day of any of the parades. All items must be removed no later than one hour after each parade.
Grandstand seating is located near the Civic Center and Kollen Park, with tickets for sale online and at the Tulip Time office. Seating is limited, and costs $12 for general seating and $16 for premium seats with backs.
“Paint the town orange” is the theme of the 90th Tulip Time, Weithers said. The festival organizers got the idea from a Dutch holiday celebrated in the Netherlands called Koningsdag, or King’s Day, that was celebrated April 27.
“We would like people to wear orange, especially for the parade days, and join in on the festivities,” Weithers said. “In honor of ‘paint the town orange,’ 25 percent of the tulip blooms will be a variation of orange, and downtown shops will have a variation of orange displayed.”
The Volksparade, sponsored by Metal Flow, on Wednesday, May 8, will start with the traditional white glove inspection by Holland City Council members and Mayor Nancy DeBoer, followed by street scrubbing at 1:30 p.m. Community members can join the Tennant Company Scrubbers, but must be in Dutch costume and bring buckets and brooms to the parade by 1:15 p.m. at Eighth Street and Columbia Ave.
Dutch Dancing will take place prior to the parade on Eighth Street between River and College avenues.
The “people’s parade” from 2-3 p.m. will be led by meteorologist Ginger Zee from “Good Morning America” and feature marching bands, floats and Dutch dogs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is also participating in the parade. The route is on Eighth Street from Columbia Avenue to Kollen Park.
Children dressed in Dutch costumes from different provinces of the Netherlands will walk in the Kinderparade from 2-3 p.m. Thursday, May 9. Dutch dancing will take place at 1 p.m.
The “children’s parade” route is on Eighth Street from Columbia Avenue to Kollen Park. The Kinderparade is sponsored by Yanfeng and Johnson Controls, and led by descendants of the late Lida Rogers, who started the Tulip Time festival. Hannah Rogers Olechowicz and Joe Rogers, along with representatives of the Woman’s Literary Club will serve as grand marshals.
The Muziekparade, sponsored by Quality Control Car Wash, is from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Pre-parade performances will start at 12:30 p.m. on Eighth Street between River, College and Central.
Holland’s town crier, John Karsten, will lead the last parade of Tulip Time. The “music parade” has seen more than 4,000 participants and 170 units.
Karsten is a former president of the American Guild of Town Criers. He is retiring after this year, and will host the Tulip Time International Town Crier Competition at 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Civic Center.