I know this because my own actually started blooming yesterday already (above). I've got somewhere around 300 bulbs as another nod to my mother but the city puts in 550,000 (every year) with a specially built machine (by a local company too) to plant them in roadside lanes for miles.
This is cause for excitement or dread on the part of locals, depending on their mindset.
I’ve been in both camps on different years, this year being more indifferent.
At one point in time, it was the #2 or 3 flower festival in the US now in it’s 80th year I believe.
If you enjoy festivals, diverse people, parades and “fair food”, people get pretty excited.
If you hate festivals, lots of “blue hairs”, bad drivers and even worse traffic, stay away.
Having grown up here, involvement with it is inevitable.
I’ve marched in something like 14 parades carrying heavy ass drums and bloody knuckles., something my son has now experienced too.
And I’ve had my share of fair food too, now really only the good point. It’s a real tradition for locals to go during lunch and late at night after crowds have gone.
In years past they’ve finally started working hard to make it actually reflect some true Dutch culture rather than just a tourism money grab.
They now have some very authentic Dutch food (and quite good) available besides corndogs and elephant ears. One year they added a kids play area (Kinderplatz) that, being a "dutch" town, they got the spelling wrong the first year. Not surprising since I had to go to college to learn dutch. And then afterwards learned my Grandparents spoke Frisian
There's even a large market for buying authentic items at surprisingly reasonable prices too.
Finally picked up the traditional Dutchman’s cap last year that I’ve been warning my wife I’d start wearing when I hit 60 ;-)
What’s most odd to me is that 50% of the actual city is now Hispanic and that they’ve decided to add a beer tent.
It’s great to see all the Hispanic school kids in the Volksparade wearing traditional Dutch costumes. Doesn’t bother me but it strikes me odd. I do find it nice that a large part of the community gets involved in some way with the Festival.
And local Dutch are not Nederlans Dutch. The ancestors of the Dutch here are those that left Holland because their strict beliefs were in strong disagreement with the free, open society that characterizes true Dutch. But hey, you can get beer here now too, they actually have a Beer tent event.
I just find it all a bit contradictory.
And jeez, if I hear one more report of “will the tulips be early/late this year?“( a stemfest)……..