Thirty-five years ago, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce formally created what is now the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival after realizing that thousands of people were flocking to the region to visit the tulip fields in bloom each spring. In 1994, the festival separated from the Chamber of Commerce to become its own entity. It has grown from a three-day happening to a monthlong celebration encompassing dozens of events, including art shows, concerts, tours, a street fair, a salmon barbecue, bike rides and a youth basketball tournament.
Scheduling the festival from April 1 to 30 pretty much guarantees that the fields will be in bloom sometime during the period. (For the latest on bloom status, visit tulips.com/bloommap.) Tulips, which have been grown in the Skagit Valley for more than a century, are crops of the Washington Bulb Company/RoozenGaarde. Shown here are posters for the inaugural festival, above, and this year’s, left, which was designed by Bellingham artist Ben Mann.