The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival website boasts that one million people a year attend this event every April. I believe they all came today. Who can blame people for wanting to take a road trip on this, the warmest, sunniest day of the year? The traffic jam began about thirty miles south of the tulip fields. Some cars spilled off from the freeway at the Tulalip Casino, gambling indoors apparently being another good way to spend the only sunny day we’ve seen in months, but the congestion returned a few miles later. There was a big back-up to exit the freeway and long waits at stop signs along the country roads. However, none of this dampened our enthusiasm.
Tourists just like us were snapping pictures while crouched among the flowers, overwhelmed by the endless streams of red, purple and yellow. Some were dressed as brightly as the flowers. All seemed pleased to be there. The tulip fields had not let us down.
According to historylink.org, the first tulip bulbs in the valley, which came from Holland, were planted in 1906 and “by 1997, 700 acres were used for bulb farming…” Skagit Valley farmers still earn their money selling tulip bulbs and vegetable seeds, though most have to work other jobs to subsidize their farming. We’re glad they haven’t yet sold out to developers and are willing to work hard to bring such colorful pleasures to a million of us every year. By the end of the day, though, we were happy to leave the congestion of the countryside to return to our city traffic, which was light and peaceful by comparison.