An annual rite of spring in Washington State, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon draws visitors from all over the world each year. The festival begins this year on April 1 and runs through the end of the month. The photos below were taken on April 10.
Video of the Tulips near Mount Vernon – April 2018
There are events throughout the month, including a new beer festival called the Skagit Farm to Pint Festival featuring 11 Skagit Valley brewers. I may have to drive back up there for that one myself, looking for home brewing inspiration.
What’s the Festival All About?
The Tulip Festival highlights all the best aspects of the Skagit Valley, and there is something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your motivation is viewing huge fields of flowers in bloom, touring art fairs, finding the perfect pairing of great food and fine local beverages, or taking photos of everything, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival should be high on your list of things to do every year.
I typically visit RoozenGaarde at least once each year, and often several times if the weather cooperates. The garden is located beside some of the largest fields and they let you wander out along the roads that run through the fields so you can take pictures while surrounded by thousands of blooms.
My wife would find new bulbs to purchase for our own garden at home from the gift shop, and we usually finish out the visit with a bite to eat while watching other people wandering through the fields and demonstration garden.
I find the gardens to be easiest to visit during the work week, and it wasn’t unusual for me to take a day off or to leave work early to make it up to the fields to take pictures as the sun lowered in the West.
Traffic can be heavy, especially if you take the main exit from I-5 into Mount Vernon. The festival website includes maps and tips for dealing with the traffic.
I recommend spending some time reading up and planning your trip, as there are multiple ways to reach the various events that won’t require waiting through traffic.
For you photographers, a tripod or at least a monopod is a good idea, but understand that there are people trying to get through the paths and you might have trouble setting up the perfect shot.
I found using a longer lens let me grab a shot without being tempted to crawl through the flower beds. You can take much better shots if you aren’t being chased by security, of course, I would know nothing about that personally.
You can find flower fields throughout the valley, and most farmers don’t mind if you pull off the road and take pictures, but all will ask you to be respectful and not damage the flowers. This means they ask you to not walk out into the fields, and of course, don’t pick the flowers.
The first week or so of the festival will see fields of daffodils blooming. The tulips will bloom about a week later.
This year, they are expecting the large fields to be blooming around April 5th or 6th, and there will be blossoms visible for one to two weeks. Because they rotate the crops each year, the various types of flowers appear in different fields each year.
You can find more details, including the bloom maps and traffic tips, at TulipFestival.org.