Flashback Friday: Orange City Tulip Festival of 1982

Local News

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KELO) — With spring in full swing, people may consider starting to plant flowers. One KELOLAND town has a celebration dedicated to one certain type of flower.

In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1982 and show you how residents got ready for that year’s Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa.

Hundreds of thousands of tulips brighten the landscape of Orange City. Everyone in this community of Dutch heritage is encourage to plant at least one tulip bed, and most are obliging. In the city flower beds, hard work and scientific study go into each imported Dutch bulb that’s planted. Don Venderwel is one of many who works with the tulips the year round.

“The tulips are selected for the Orange City area to bloom approximately the time in the 3rd week of May. We had the University of South Carolina do a research project for us and they did a seven-year study of soil conditions, weather conditons, and so on and so forth, and came up with a variety of that were going to bloom in the third week of May. Again, this developed into 27 varieties, and they keep adding to our list every year after they’ve tested them.”

The tulip bulbs are rotated every two years. The bed are re-fertilized and reconditioned. And even though the tulip is quite hardy, each year there is a concern with frost.

“We did have late frosts, and the tulips were starting to come out of the ground. So there before you’ll see some brown tips on the leaves. However, the bud was still underground it was not damaged.”

But nature has been cooperative this year. And it looks like tulips will be at the peak of their bloom during Tulip Days. So when visitors come this year to see this city of tulips, they won’t be disappointed. Joyce Terveen, KELOLAND News, Orange City, IA.

This year’s festival gets underway on Thursday, May 13 and runs through Saturday, May 15.

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