Pella, IA

What to Expect at the 2021 Pella Tulip Time Festival

Kimberly Ritter

A spring tradition for many Iowans, the Pella Tulip Time festival is back for 2021. Here is what to know about this upcoming event if you will be attending with your family.

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Image courtesy of Pella Historical Museum and Tulip Time.

Guests are invited back to Pella, Iowa on May 6, 7 & 8, 2021 for the 86th annual Tulip Time Festival. One of the primary attractions of the event are the tens of thousands of tulips planted throughout Tulip Avenue in Central Park and Sunken Gardens Park.

If you’ve ever visited Pella in spring time, you’ve been welcomed by the beautiful architecture, tulips, traditions and more. This unique Iowa community celebrates their Dutch heritage every spring with Dutch food, attire and more making this small town feel like a European village.

While the traditional parades will not be held for 2021, visitors can join a walking parade in the downtown area. Ten floats will be on display, and several will offer an opportunity for you to step on and take your photos. Visit the floats from 8:30-9:30 pm for a special lighted float display. These floats will be located on Main Street between Liberty and Washington and on Franklin Street near the Vermeer Windmill.

Pella’s annual Tulip festival will feature Grandstand shows that begin at 1 p.m. daily. Seating for the shows will be limited and socially distanced. There will be park tickets available with some shaded seating, which are an excellent option for guests in wheelchairs and walker seats. Afternoon Grandstand shows feature Dutch dancing and singing as well as the Parade of Provinces which is a Dutch costume style show. There will also be the presentation of the Queen and her court, the famous street scrubbing and more. Grandstand seats are free for evening shows courtesy of the support of Central College.

If you will be attending Tulip Time this year, watch for fun pop up events by the Dutch Family Singers with performances throughout the day. Visitors will be able to listen and watch Dutch songs and traditional dances in a variety of downtown locations throughout the three days of Tulip Time. There will also be performances at noon east of the grandstand.

On Thursday and Friday during the event, keep your eye out for special performances by the Pella High School Orchestra Strolling Strings and special marching band performances as well.

COVID-19 Policies for Pella’s Tulip Time Festival
The 2021 Tulip Time festival in Pella Iowa will go on as planned May 6 to 8th, 2021 with over 300,000 tulips on display with added precautions and limited capacity rules.

There will be no parades this year, but visitors will find plenty of food vendors, community tours on the open-air wagons, performances in Dutch costumes, Dutch dancing, the coronation of this year’s Queen and Court, visits to the Pella Historical Village/Vermeer Windmill/Scholte House, Dutch Lunch or Dutch dinners and lots of local Pella shopping.

After a cancellation of the festival in 2020 due to COVID-19, this year’s festival will include spacing out of food stands, enhanced sanitation stations and encouraged social distancing. While visitors will not be able to see the traditional floats in a parade this year, there will be new attractions, classic floats on display and pop-up happenings during the three days of the festival.

Entrance at area attractions will be limited to smaller capacity along with the Dutch Craft Market, which will also be more limited for 2021. Most restaurant and retail locations are operating with regular hours, regular sanitizing and social distancing measures. Some locations may require masks for entrance and masks are also recommended whenever you enter a crowded area.

Many of the events at Tulip Time are free. The Dutch Market charges no admission and many of the gardens are free for your enjoyment. Parking along the streets is free. Entrance fees for different exhibits can range from from $5 - $20, but are well worth their entrance fee.

For more information on the 2021 Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa visit www.visitpella.com.

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