Tip-Toe Through the Tulips
Indeed April showers bring May flowers and a variety of flower-based festivals dot the landscape around the NW this time of year. That said, I have two that I normally don't miss: The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest (near Woodburn, Or.) and the Woodland Tulip Festival. Unfortunately, the Woodland festival was cancelled this year due to "perennially gloomy Spring weather" (so noted on tdn.com). However, Woodburn's festival (the bigger of the two) is cranking and the flowers are in full bloom.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
To be totally open and honest, when I first heard about the option of "going to a tulip festival" many years ago, well, I wasn't so sure. I mean just how many flowers can you look at and still be entertained? I'm sure the answer to that question widely varies, but for me (and I dig nice flowers), I was thinking 1-2 hours tops. Well, I was in for a surprise. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest is much, much more than just flower viewing and picking. Indeed, this festival rivals some of the bigger harvest festivals that pop around around the region in October.
The weekend activity calendar is much bigger (for kids) vs. weekdays, so it's worth going at that time if you have youngsters. Further, hot air balloon rides are an option on the weekends only, although this is very weather dependent. Multiple hot air balloon vendors show up (if the flying is good) and this can make for a VERY memorable way to view the gorgeous tulip fields. For the more purist experience, a weekday visit is preferred.
Complete with multiple food options, bouncy houses, hay rides, paintball target shooting, zip lines and more, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest offers something for all ages to enjoy. About 45 minutes south of Portland, it's worth the drive. To boot, there is an onsite winery called The Wooden Shoe Winery, and tastings are available!
There's a lot of fun to be had at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest, which has grown in size and breadth of activity year after year. Here are some useful links to explore and plan a visit.
Dates of Operation: April 23-May 6
Ticket info: click here
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Daily and Weekend Activities: click here
Tulip Festival Photo Contest: click here
Directions: click here
The Woodland Tulip Festival
Normally my family makes the trip north to the Woodland Tulip Festival as it is a much smaller, more quaint experience. We enjoy both ends of the spectrum. Indeed, parking is easier at the Woodland celebration and the crowds are smaller. However, the last couple years the Woodland festival has suffered from poor tulip growth that has been blamed (as noted above) on "perennially gloomy Spring weather." Read more on this unfortunate turn here as this year's event was cancelled.