The Annual Pella Tulip Time Festival: All You Need to Know

Pella Tulip Time

Pella, Iowa’s Tulip Time festival has been a tradition in the little Dutch town since 1935. This festival has seen its residents through war efforts and American celebrations. Tulip Time has raised money to add to the town’s historic charm. It’s a draw for tourists, both Dutch and Dutch for a day.

While Tulip Time looked very different this year, there were still bright, colorful flowers and the cheery energy that only Pella could provide. If you’re interested in learning more about this fun weekend event, read on!

Pella Tulip Time Festival 2021

When is Pella’s Tulip Time?

Pella Tulip Time
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Tulip Time is always the first Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in May. It’s wise to start booking your accommodations a little early. We planned a last-minute trip and there were only a few hotel rooms left in Des Moines, which is about 45 minutes away.

Where to find Pella Tulip Time Schedule

Pella Tulip Time
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The Pella Tulip Time schedule can be found on their tourism website. It’s constantly updated. they’re already planning for 2022. 

Is Tulip Time when the flowers are in bloom?

Pella Tulip Time
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Usually. Pella has had decades of practice so the tulips are intentionally planted to be at their peak during Tulip Time.

How much does it cost?

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Depending on where you go, Tulip Time can cost anywhere from $0 to double digits. The Dutch Craft Market is free to walk through. Many tulip areas, such as Central College, are free browsing as well.

For sites like Pella Historical Village, there is an entry fee. The gardens of the Scholte House are open to roam, but there is a cost to enter. The Grandstand Show has varying ticket costs depending on where you sit. Also, street side parking is free, but those spots go fast. Central College student groups will offer up a parking space on campus for around $5.

The Parade

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Again, things were a little different this year to avoid creating crowds. Instead of your usual parade, the floats were stationed throughout downtown Pella so visitors could take pictures and get up close without a large crowd forming.

Where to see the Tulips

Pella Tulip Time
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Scholte House and Gardens

The Scholte House just wrapped up an extensive 2 year renovation project! This 170-year-old home was the residence of Hendrik Peter Scholte and his wife Maria. Their family were some of the original dwellers of Pella, before there were even log cabins set up for the immigrating Dutch families.

The house today is miles above the Scholte’s original log cabin home. Mixed with keepsakes from the Netherlands and American furniture, the house is refined and elegant. Every corner has something to draw the eye in.

The garden is so quaint and colorful. A defined path makes for a peaceful walk through while photographing tulips in bloom.

Pella Tulip Time
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Central Park

If you’ve seen any photos of Tulip Time in Pella, they were likely taken in Central Park. The colorful walkways of flowers create a beautiful backdrop for the massive sundial and Tulip Toren monument. If you’re curious, this is where the Grandstand Show takes place. You can see why.

Pella Tulip Time
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Pella Historical Village

Tulip Time or not, you should absolutely give this charming recreation of Dutch life a walk through. Covering Pella’s history, beginning in the 1840’s, the village consists of 22 period buildings, including Wyatt Earp’s boyhood home.

Wyatt Earp’s home was recently remodeled into an entire visual and audio experience to give visitors an idea of his life both in and beyond Iowa.

Some other highlights include:

  • The Vermeer Mill, a working windmill that you can tour, climbing up several stories for a great view
  • A real log cabin with a sod house replica next door
  • A wooden shoe making demonstration
  • Heritage Hall, a museum full of antiques, vignettes, historical commentary and Goliath, the Dutch street organ
  • A blacksmith demonstration right next to a replica grist mill
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Central College

I recommend ending your Tulip Time with a walk through the Central College campus. It’s a well manicured area with endless greenery and tulip plots. Perfect way to wind down your day.

Would I recommend Pella Tulip Time?

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Yes! Even under modified circumstances, I still had a blast. There was so much to see and do, all the while I was surrounded by tulips in full bloom.

I was reminded of the, admittedly, cliche quote from “Field of Dreams.”

“Is this heaven?”

“No, it’s Iowa.”

Pella Tulip Time Vlog

Did you make it to Pella Tulip Time 2021? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Pella Tulip Time
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Pin Pella Tulip Time Festival!

Safe travels!

-Maggie

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