5-6-18. I've always wanted to go to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan. I imagined fields of bright colored tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes.
The reality of the festival was very underwhelming to say the least. I set my expectations too high for this festival which takes place for two weekends each May. Yes, there were thousands of tulips but they were not all in one place. There were patches of them throughout the town.
The festival offers off site parking and a shuttle but we found plenty of free open parking spaces in town and parked on 9th Avenue in a large lot. Our first stop was the Artisian market in the main square. This was a large area filled with crafts for sale. We even saw someone pulling a wagon with puppies for sale. Make sure you stop by the Holland Visitors Bureau on 8th Street to get a map and suggestions of what to see.
Next we walked to Windmill Island. They had a free shuttle running from the road that takes you to the island and the entrance. There was a fee of $10 a per person admission. I thought this was extremely high. There were a few shops, some actors hanging around in Dutch attire and a large Windmill you could tour for, I assume, another fee, so we didn't even check it out. I believe there are some shows in this area but we didn't see any going on.
We had lunch at Big E's Sports Grill. The service was so slow but the food was good. After lunch I think we all were so disappointed in the festival that we left. There are some tulip farms in the outskirts of town you could visit. Maybe this is where the fields of tulips are. We had some really cold weather weeks prior to the festival and I think this effected the tulips blooming as only about half of them had flowers. Over all, the festival was very disappointing and I would only recommend if you live in the area. We drove 3 hours to get there and I wouldn't do it again.