Pella Tulip Festival handles snowstorm on opening day

(Courtesy Iowa Radio News’ Dar Danielson) – Organizers of the Pella Tulip Festival seem to be taking the sudden shift to winter weather in stride. The event opened Thursday as the rare May snowstorm spread across the state. Tulip festival spokesman, Dick Redman, says the red, yellow, orange and other colored tulips were out right on time, as the weather worked out so that a lot of the tulip beds had opened up just this week.

Some of the events were canceled Thursday, and Redman says they’ll keep things on schedule as much as they can. “We just have to go kind of day-by-day with our weather plans, we were thinking with the colder weather like this people could just bundle up with coats. Rain will really be a reason for a decision on what we will cancel,” Redman explains.

He says there are a lot of things inside to see, including demonstrations on Dutch chocolate making to Dutch costumes and how they plant the tulip bulbs. Redman says even with the uncharacteristic winter storm Thursday, there were still several tour buses of people who stopped to see the tulips and visit the demonstrations.

“So, I think that there’s a lot of people that are just coming to enjoy a lot of the things that are inside and to just see some tulips and spend some time,” Redman says. He is like a lot of other people who can’t remember an opening day of the annual festival where they had a snowstorm.

“I would have to say no. I remember some cold times, but this I think is pretty unique,” Redman laughed. “So I guess that is another reason to come to town, so you can say, ‘you know, when it snowed at tulip time, I was there’.”

It’s a complete turnaround from last year when unseasonably warm weather prompted the tulips to emerge early and most were done blooming by the opening of the festival.