Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa

Our latest “Have Mom- Will Travel” vacation took us to the tulip festival in Pella, Iowa, May 7, 2021.

Iowa??? You may ask. Yes, we made the 3 hour journey into the neighboring state.
What was the draw??? Of all things- flowers, tulips to be exact.

It wasn’t a long stay, leaving home Thursday afternoon and returning mid-day Saturday, and it wasn’t a lot of miles, but the memories are plentiful.

Insider Tip: Get your reservations in advance. Early this spring, Pella accommodations were fully booked. We found lodging at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Oskaloosa, IA, a neighboring town approx. 25 miles south of Pella.

Like most festivals, it is what you make it. The company, the weather, the spirit of the event, all play into the whole experience. Locals take great pride in this event and the town is beautiful. The three of us, my sister, mother and myself, can just about have fun anywhere you drop us. We had a nice sunny day, although it was a bit cold and windy.

Social Media Tip: Check out the VisitPella website for more details on events and activities.

We took a tram tour through Pella. It was fun and interesting and we were able to rest our legs as we rode in the tractor-pulled wagon. A local tour guide pointed out area attractions including the Downtown streets and vendors, the Historical Village, the Dutch Market, the Central College campus, the Scholte House Museum & Maria’s Tea Room, local examples of Dutch architecture, Pella schools, a historical cabin, area windmills, a pond shaped like a Dutch shoe, … plus thousands of tulips!

The town is covered in tulips. Whether it is a business, personal residence, park, or just any road side area, you’ll find tulips. These are only a few of our favorites.

The Historical Village of Pella is a top attraction. With admission, you receive a tour of the windmill (the tallest operating windmill in the United States), plus tour the rest of the museums and displays on your own. It has everything from a sod house, a blacksmith shop, a church, a museum, to a bakery filled with tasty Dutch treats. There are demonstrations and volunteers dressed in traditional Dutch costume throughout the village. Along with the windmill tour, you can tour a miniature replica of a traditional town in the Netherlands.

Planning Tip: Visit the Pella Historical Society website for more details and ticket information.

Due to Covid, the parade was modified. The floats were set up throughout downtown for viewing. Bands played in the parks and a few marched in the streets. They also paraded the Tulip Queen through the streets in a horse drawn wagon.

We attended the Dutch Dinner at Central College. This dinner theatre experience featured traditional Dutch food- buffet style, followed by a program including Dutch dancers and singers. We learned about Dutch costumes, dance, food and some history of the town and Tulip Time.

The Dutch Dinner was well worth the $25/person ticket price. The food was good and the program was informative and entertaining. Even the simple luxuries of having a comfortable, climate controlled place to sit and eat a meal was very welcome by the end of the busy day.

We relaxed and celebrated, while taking in the view of the town and windmill from the roof top bar. It was windy, but sunny, and the drinks were refreshing.

I’d definitely recommend a trip to Pella, IA. The town is beautiful and I’d even recommend visiting during non-festival times. Tulip blooms don’t always know the Tulip Time schedule.

So pack your bags, including a watering can purse, like mine and head to Pella. If you can’t make it this year before the tulips fade, start planning your trip for 2022.

Related Posts:
For more of our Have Mom Will Travel Flower-based trips click HERE
Have Mom Will Travel-Why? and What is does it mean?

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