ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — What began as a small celebration of Dutch culture in 1936 has led to 82 years of the Orange City Tulip Festival. The weekend festival kicks off on May 18, and final preparations are being made.

“This week has been busy with festival prep. We joke that really the preparations start the day after the previous festival, but really things kicked into high gear about a couple of weeks ago. We started meeting with our folk group. Making sure that all of our volunteers are in place,” said Tulip Festival Executive Committee member Jenni Droog.

This year’s Tulip Festival will feature new traditional Dutch attire for dancers.

“Our 2023 tulip queen and court are wearing a new costume that’s never been done at the festival, so it is representing a city in the area of Friesland so we’re excited for them to show that new costume off. Along with that last year, our Dutch dozen, which is a group that’s been around for ages, but they got updated with props and costumes last year so we’re really looking forward to people being able to take that in. It brings a whole new level to the show as well.” Droog said.

But who are the stars of the festival? The tulips of course.

“So we plant around 70,000 to 80,000 tulips throughout Orange City and we’re super excited. We always plant a variety of mid to late-blooming tulips because our festival is later in May, so in different parts of the country you’ll see tulips that have come and gone already, but ours as you can see behind me, are just kind of coming up. We’ve had some great rain and sunshine within the last week,” Droog said.

The Tulip Festival does run from May 18 to the 20, but you can get a head start with the car show and carnival rides a day early on May 17.