5 Midwest Spring Flower Festivals
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Raindrops cling to blossoms after a morning shower in Pella, Iowa, but gray skies don't dampen the annual Tulip Time spirit. During this weekend, more than 150,000 visitors will come to toast Pella's Dutch heritage—and to be dazzled by 300,000 tulips blooming in red, pink, purple, yellow, coral and white.
Of course, many Midwest towns herald spring with a community festival (click ahead for four more of our favorites). But with more than half the town's 10,000 residents claiming Dutch ancestry, Pella (45 miles southeast of Des Moines) certainly hosts one of the most authentic fests. Locals of all ages clatter around in clogs, lace and britches, often breaking into song or dance. Vendors sell peppery bologna sandwiches and buttery pancakes called poffertjes. Cobblers and blacksmiths work in the pretty Pella Historical Village.
The Tulip Time parade, a twice-daily spectacle, melds Dutch tradition with Main Street Americana. Costumed kids haul buckets of water and brooms to scrub the street clean for the folks to follow: racing cheese mongers, 4-H Club floats, an army of schoolchildren in wooden clogs, high school marching bands and the newly crowned tulip queen, whose megawatt smile shines bright— even through a brief afternoon shower. May 2-4, 2013. (641) 628-4311; pellatuliptime.com