The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon

Posted on
Apr 17, 2012
Posted in: Events

I’ve never been much of a sucker for flowers.

Ultimately they start to wilt, no matter how often you trim the ends. Inevitably they end up in the trash or the compost heap, a mixture of brittle petals and waterlogged stems. Flowers don’t do it for me.

But add a dark-eyed boy in the mix to hold those flowers? SOLD. I mean, come on – I’m not made of WOOD, people. A dark-eyed boy holding flowers is almost up there with a dark-eyed boy holding baked goods (which are the only two things I need to be happy).

So when Rand suggested we visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival this past weekend, I couldn’t say no. In the 25 years that I’d lived in Seattle, I’d never been. Plus Katie was visiting, and there were sure to be loads of photo opportunities. And everyone knows that any festival more than 30 miles outside a major metropolitan area is almost guaranteed to have fudge.

Fudge. Flowers. Dark-eyed boy. This was happening.

So we headed to the Tulip Festival. Or at least, that’s where we thought we were going. But first we got sidetracked by a Flea Market/Farmer’s Market/Rummage Sale. From that point on, we just referred to it as “The Flarm” for short.


They even had ponies!

I wasn't allowed to ride one, on account of me grossly exceeding the weight and age limit.

I was having the time of my life. But then again, I have a noted weakness for small towns, funnel cakes, and the opportunity to dig through other people’s unwanted items. Oh, and I have a weakness for buildings named after animals. Behold:

This led to lots of delightful cell phone conversations whenever we got separated.

“Where are you?”

“I’m in Swine.”

“Okay. I’m in Sheep.”

(Even as you read this, I’m hanging a sign outside our house that reads “ECHIDNA”.)

Eventually, though, I began to get the suspicion that not everyone was having as much fun as I was.

I'm just guessing, based on the look on his face, this wasn't his cup of tea.

So we decided to find that perhaps we should actually figure out where we were and locate some tulips.

"Google maps says we're just 15 minutes south of the middle of nowhere."

We stopped at an information office in Mount Vernon. We could have easily followed the long parade of cars, but I think Rand and Katie were wary of getting sidetracked by another flarm (I WOULD NOT HAVE COMPLAINED). Plus, since flowers bloom at different times on different years (due to climate, rainfall, etc.), the kid folks at the information office can actually tell you which tulip fields to visit and which to skip. A nice young man gave us directions, and we headed out.

Like I said, I’m no sucker for flowers but … wow.

April can be an unpredictable month in the northwest, and the photos I’d seen of the festival in past years were set against the backdrop of a grey, misty sky. This wasn’t the case during our visit. It was gloriously sunny and 65 degrees, with a breeze blowing over the fields. The air was cool and clean and it smelled of … okay, fine. It might have smelled like manure.

"It wasn't me, I swear."

I mean, really smelled like manure. As Rand says, it ain’t all roses (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)

We visited Roozengaarde, one of the larger tulip growers in the area. Parking was free, and admission was $5 a person. There was a massive line of folks trying to get in, but it went rather quickly. And once we were there …

It was flarmtastic, I tell you. There were a ridiculous number of photo opportunities.

Can we talk about how effing great Katie looks in yellow? She should wear it ALWAYS.

We even managed to get a nice photo of the three of us! (And some random child at left.)

And did I mention that Katie is a photographer? She's done a lot of engagement photos.

The tulip festival runs from April 1st until the 30th, but according to a few folks we talked to, the prime days for viewing will be this week. Specifically today, tomorrow, and Thursday. I know that’s short-notice, but if you have the chance, you should go. Especially if you are a sucker for flowers.

Or just a sucker for the dark-eyed boy that brings them to you.

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