The original Tulip Festival in the Fraser Valley and the largest tulip festival in Western Canada is back and in full bloom to be enjoyed by the multitudes.
“This is our 11th annual tulip festival. We have over 20 acres of tulips just reaching full bloom right now. Our longest rows of tulips are over 700 meters long and our beds of tulips are almost two meters wide compared to other growers in North America who use a potato type planter and narrow rows,” said Kate Onos Gilbert of Tulips of the Valley. “We are the only grower in Canada and likely the US that plants our tulips in this very modern method brought straight from Holland.”
By planting the tulips this way the organization is maximizing the amount of tulips/acre as well as having less dirt in visitors pictures. There are over 7 million tulips in their fields. When looking for land to lease for their tulips, Tulips of the Valley focused a lot on finding good draining and fertile soil so that no bulbs were drown. Therefore, there is very little standing water on the fields, just the occasional tractor rut filled with water. Good foot wear is still recommended as it can be slippery and a little muddy after a rain shower according to Gilbert.
“We started our festival in 2006 in Agassiz B.C. and have now moved our fields to Chilliwack. The new location is beautiful andt the fields we are leasing are perfect for the growing of our bulbs. The tulip fields is first a farm and second a festival. We grow the tulips for the bulbs which Onos Greenhouses uses for their cut flower operation each spring,” she said.
Dates have been extended to May 7th and they are open daily Thur-Mon 9-6 Tues/Wed 2-6 (late opening so they can do field work). Prices are very reasonable, all tickets on the weekends are $10 and less, weekdays $8 and less. Kids 5 and under are always free and Youth 6-16 are half the adult price. Online ticket sales are available at a reduced rate including a family rate (weekends only).
“This year we created a bed of tulips in the shape of the Canada flag, we have s beautiful windmill and a standing platform over looking the fields. We also serve fresh Stroop waffles, a traditional Dutch cookie baked fresh on site,” said Gilbert.