At a Women’s Literary Club meeting in 1927, a biology teacher suggested that there be a celebration of tulips and Dutch culture. A few years later, the suggestion became a reality. And this coming spring, more than 80 years after the first Tulip Time festival, organizers have a variety of entertainers — including popular comedian Bill Cosby — lined up for this year’s Dutch celebration.
Since 1947, the festival has expanded to include Dutch dance and area attractions such as windmill gardens, a museum, concerts and tourist shops in addition to their tulip gardens. Every year during Tulip Time, the festival planners book different entertainers to add more events to the festival. Last year, Kenny Rogers was the big entertainer of the festival. This year, in addition to other new acts coming up in 2014, Cosby will headline the festival by performing two shows — one at 5 p.m. and the other at 8 p.m. — on May 9. No comments from Cosby on this year’s upcoming festival were available.
Other entertainment events this year at the festival include Vocal Trash, The Second City, The Killer Bs, FiddleFire, New Odyssey Dinner Show and Bangarang Circus. Each act has something unique to bring to the festival. On their two performances on May 9 and May 10, Vocal Trash hopes to use their singing, drumming, comedy and break-dancing to excite and energize their audiences. The Second City, a comedy act, is scheduled to perform on May 8 at 7:30 p.m. The Killer Bs band will play songs by the Beatles, Billy Joel and Barry Manilow at the band’s show on May 7. FiddleFire, a band who played to a sold out crowd in 2013, plans to present their folk style music — including French Canadian, Irish, Classical and Bluegrass — on May 6. The New Odyssey Dinner Show is made up of three men and 30 instruments that will perform on May 9 between Cosby’s two shows. And the Bangarang Circus hopes to captivate audiences with acrobatics and aerial acts on May 5.
According to the organizers for the festival, they hope to update the Tulip Time festival starting this year. Gwen Auwerda, executive director of Tulip Time, said that they hoped to “transition Tulip Time to a year-round celebration.” The climax of the celebration will be the week of May 5, though organizers would like to add more events throughout the year.
“To make the term ‘Tulip Time’ synonymous with Dutch culture and the celebration of our community,” Auwerda said in a press release statement, “we’re working on more year-round events beginning with the Running of the Bulbs and our Corporate and Community Planting Days in the fall.”
This year Tulip Time will take place May 3-10. Tickets are available through the Tulip Time website until Nov. 5. Visit www.tuliptime.com for more information on the festival.