The History of Tulip Time
is important to know.
Miss Lida Rogers, biology teacher at Holland High School and member of the Woman's Literary Club, suggested that the city of Holland, MI adopt the tulip as its official flower. The Netherlands is famous for its tulips, and Holland, MI is famous for being like the Netherlands. Adopting the tulip was a brilliant plan.
Miss Rogers loved her hometown dearly, and advertised Holland’s beautiful terrain and other flattering aspects. She even read a poem called Come on Down to Holland in Tulip Time.
In 1928, the mayor allowed for the purchase of 100,000 bulbs from the Netherlands. Most were planted in city parks and other areas of local interest, and were available to Holland residents for a penny per bulb. In 1929, there were thousands of tulips growing throughout the city. Holland invited people from all over to come stare at the tulips. There was such an interest in this activity that a chairman of the Tulip Time board was appointed (Mrs. Ethel Telling). She helped turn Tulip Time into a revival of old Dutch culture. Wooden shoes, traditional costume – everyone thought it was quite quaint.
By the mid 1930’s, Tulip Time was a nationally known event. In 1933, a certain Ethel Perry trained the first group of people who would eventually become known as the Klompen Dancers. There were twelve dancers that first year, and today there are over 1,400. Most consist of high school girls sweating profusely beneath layers of wool and several inches of thick socks to make their wooden shoes fit. It is not uncommon for one of the wooden shoes to burst upon contact with the asphalt, causing potential danger to the dancers and the spectators. Beware.
In 1976, the President of the United States of America visited the festival. Gerald R. Ford himself appeared in the Parade of Bands. There was much rejoicing.
In the 1960s and 70s, bus tours and huge group vacation agencies discovered Tulip Time. All hope was lost. Every year, hundreds of thousands of foreigners are bussed into the city, raiding the usually deadly quiet Outlet Mall in search of cute little Dutch knickknacks. Throughout these years and into the present, locals have learned to flee in fear of the massive crowds that gather in Holland every May.
info found at tuliptime.org, and
opinions provided by years of experience