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No Parades for Tulip Time 2021

After canceling the 2020 edition of Tulip Time, the coronavirus is now beginning to have an impact on the 2021 edition, as well.

Thursday afternoon, Pella Historical Society and Museums Executive Director Valerie Van Kooten released the following statement regarding the 86th Tulip Time Festival, scheduled for May 6-8:

Tulip Time in Pella will take place May 6-8, complete with Dutch food, costumes, and tulips—hundreds of thousands of tulips.

One treasured tradition that will not take place during the 86th Tulip Festival, out of an abundance of caution for visitors and community members, is the afternoon and evening parades.

Tulip Time Steering Committee Chairperson Lori Lourens said the decision was not an easy one and came after hours of deliberation: 

“We are currently planning additional events that can be enjoyed safely. Spring is a time of new birth.  After the events of the past year, we look forward to welcoming you to Pella for a time of celebration.”

Tulip Time organizers will be further adjusting the festival weekend’s logistics to safely allow the other mainstays to operate; for example, food vendors will be spread out to ease visitor concentration during high-demand times, and capacity controls will be applied where possible.

 Organizers will strive to bring favorite Dutch experiences throughout downtown Pella during the festival weekend via impromptu “pop up” group performances: the 2021 Queen and Court; heritage groups like the Dutchesses, Dutch Family Singers, Strolling Strings and local school bands.

Outdoor venues like the Dutch Market, the bleacher seating, Rotary tour wagons and Historical Village will operate at reduced seating or capacity. Other indoor venues—the Vermeer Windmill, Scholte House, and Maria’s Tea Room—will adjust capacities as needed throughout the weekend.

Mayor Don DeWaard said that he understands the need to make adjustments to the 86th Tulip Festival due to the current environment:

“While I personally will miss attending the parades that we all look forward to each year, I would like to express my appreciation to the Tulip Time Steering Committee for the hours they have already put into this planning process. I appreciate the creative thinking expressed by the committee to modify this event with the safety of our residents and guests as a top priority.”

Pella Historical Society and Museums has been the sponsor of Tulip Time in collaboration with the City of Pella and its citizens since 1936. PHSM Executive Director Valerie Van Kooten says everyone has gotten used to social distancing and wearing masks over the past year and will need to adhere to these practices during the festival:

“We want to celebrate this spring festival and enjoy what Tulip Time has to offer. But there are realities about what we can do this year.”

She added that because many of the festival’s volunteers are in the vulnerable age range for coronavirus, some may not want to participate this year:

“It’s going to be more important than ever to volunteer this year. Please consider what you and your family or office can do to help.”

Plans for the festival are subject to change based on guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control that may be in place at the time of the event.  Pella Historical Society’s website,, as well as its Facebook page—Pella Historical Museum and Tulip Time—will give updated information on daily schedules as we get closer to the festival dates.

For more news and information – “just about Pella” – visit


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