The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival can bring 1,000,000 people to the Skagit Valley in a good spring. This year’s gathering would have brought tulip lovers here all of April, 2020, but not this year. COVID-19 has caused its promoters to tell people not to come to Mount Vernon, which has no roadside services, for the 2020 festival. Stay home and stay healthy they suggest.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival began 112 years ago. An Englishman named George Gibbs moved to Orcas in the San Juan Islands about 30 years before and found the area especially well suited for growing tulips. By 1905 he had 15,000 bulbs from Holland to experiment with. After World War II a man from The Netherlands named William Roozen, a successful bulb grower, brought tulip growing to the Skagit Valley between Seattle and Vancouver BC, others tulip lovers followed, and display gardens and the festival grew.
We are told to avoid super-spreading events and maintain social distancing while coronavirus rages, but a Washington State choir ignored this advice earlier in March and held a rehearsal. They maintained social distancing and were careful about contact. There had been no cases of the virus in Skagit County when 60 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale showed up for the rehearsal that lasted for more than 2 hours. No one appeared sick, but 2 chorale members have since died from COVID-19. Three weeks after this rehearsal, 28 singers tested positive for this virus and another 17 members showed symptoms but were not tested. Experts believe that this gives credibility to the belief that this virus can be transmitted via microscopic particles in the air. When people sing, they open their mouths widely and inhale and exhale a lot.
Be warned and only look at pictures of tulips this year. Up top is “Blooming Tulips” by Chris Ward of Jerome, ID. She made this hooked project that Ruth and I saw in a craft shop in Tillamook, OR. I took the photo of it and the other 2, one just above and the other below. I snapped Jeff Koons tulip sculpture when Steve Wynn first had it on display under his resort-casino in Las Vegas. The 3rd photo, a field of tulips, proves that this flower does indeed grow beautifully in Washington State.