Tulips were in full bloom and the streets of Holland were flooded with people from across the nation as Tulip Time kicked off last weekend.

After last year’s festival was nixed because of the pandemic, people at this year’s Tulip Time said they weren’t too concerned with the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

Gary and Ruth Wolfer, a retired couple from Arkansas, made the journey to the festival for the first time this year. Both said they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so they weren’t worried about attending the large event.

“It’s been a bucket list item for a while, but we just thought this year was the best year to do it,” Gary said. “We’re vaccinated and I’m a betting man, I think 95 percent (vaccine efficacy rate) is pretty solid, so I’m not worried about that.”

Michigan recently saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, but the number of new cases each day has been on a steady decline. Many people walking the streets of Holland and gazing at the tulips this past week said they felt more comfortable because the festival is an outdoor event.

Jason Huber, who made the drive from Indiana, said he wasn’t worried. He said he hasn’t been vaccinated yet, but the most at-risk members of his seven-person group had been.

“I don’t think we’re that nervous about it anymore,” Huber said. “I think the people we have with us that are the most susceptible have been vaccinated in our family, so we’re good.”

Alice Ward, a Holland native who says she has been to every Tulip Time for as long as she can remember, said she is thrilled to have the event back.

“Even to see the traffic congestion and parking lots full, it’s kind of nice,” Ward said.

Ward said that even though there was a bit of trepidation on her part to come out to the festival, it wasn’t much. She’s fully vaccinated and made sure to follow social-distancing guidelines.

“I’ve had both shots,” Ward said. “I do feel a slight concern, but I’ve got a mask and everybody is wearing masks, so (we should be fine).”

The 2021 Tulip Time concludes this weekend.

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