HOW WE GOT STARTED…
How did we go from tulip-growing to tulip celebrating?
Well, we couldn’t do it by ourselves. What started out as a family passion, soon bloomed into a wonderful partnership with Onos Greenhouses Ltd., who own and grow the tulips on our 20-acre field. As you can imagine, this yields a bounty of bulbs, and at the end of the blooming season, after our guests have enjoyed their vibrant display, Onos Greenhouses collects the bulbs and then uses them in their greenhouse operation, to produce cut Tulips that are sold throughout western Canada and the Northern States.
It’s with their help that we’re able to bring you Tulips of the Valley, Western Canada’s largest and most recognised Tulip Festival!
Since then, we’ve been the Tulip Ambassador, bringing the lively, bright colours of the tulip to the Fraser Valley. People have been pouring in from as far away as South Asia and Europe as well as closer to home from the US, Alberta and the Okanagan, just to get a glimpse of our terrain of tulips.
When we first started cultivating these beauties, it was a pleasure enjoyed only by our family. After appreciating the tulip fields for years, we had to share the beauty with anyone who wished to see it. So, in 2006, we opened our fields to the public and we’ve done it ever since – for over 10 years!
We originally opened our festival on Seabird Island, just east of Agassiz. It was on Aboriginal land, and we spent the first 10 years of the festival working closely with the local band to honour the Aboriginal culture. We sold Bannock at the festival, had aboriginal dancers, drummers, and even aboriginal artisans at the fields.
Now in its twelfth year, the festival has grown from a couple of hundred visitors per season, to nearly 30,000, and we’ve relocated to charming Chilliwack, to better showcase the talents of the tulip.
TODAY’S TULIP FEST
So, what is this festival of flowers all about?
Tulips of the Valley takes place over a 3-5-week period, usually in April, sometimes into May, depending on the weather. Actual length depends on temperatures, high temperatures pushes the tulips through faster.
Once you’re here, our guests get to enjoy a leisurely stroll outdoors, surrounded by the lush green of the Fraser Valley and the amazing views of Mt Cheam and other spectacular snow-capped mountain vistas that surround Chilliwack. Oh, and of course there’s the star of our festival, the vibrant tulip! Enveloped by 20 acres of tulips, in a multitude of colours, you will be enchanted by the natural beauty of the fields as you explore our designated “Tulip” path and take advantage of the many photo opportunities.
Speaking of photo ops, there’s also our windmill. Or maybe take some fun-filled photos beside a traditional Dutch bike, while sitting on our numerous benches, or even on our viewing platform that provides a higher view of our tulip fields, for those panoramic pics! We can hardly wait to show off our new photo opportunities this year; but, you’ll just have to come out to the fields to see for yourself.
We love to see the delight on people’s faces as they wander around our tulip fields, snapping pictures to their hearts content.
Why Taking Care of Tulips is a Family Affair…
And while you’re taking in the tulips, you might just run into one of us. We’re a fully operating family business, and a functional farm. Our family – including our three kids – have grown up alongside the tulip festival. One of our boys is an entertainer at the Fest. He’s the “balloon boy”, making fun, twisty balloon works of art. Our daughter helped face paint last year. And our oldest is now fully involved in running the festival, as well as selling his homemade paracord bracelets. Even grandpa is in on the fun! He’s been heavily involved since the festival’s creation, and every year, he spends 2 weeks in the fields.
So, you might just see us, our three kids, or group of close friends at the festival, tending the tulips, selling tickets, or answering questions about the life of a bulb. We all work hard to make our fest the best! And without our band of volunteers and helpers (which we like to call Team Tulip), our festival could never have grown to the size it is.
We also owe a big thanks to Royalwood Farms of Chilliwack BC, who lease their land to our partner, Onos Greenhouses, and who make this fabulous flower fest possible.
Why Our Tulip Fest is Truly Unique
Where can you enjoy the spectacle of a Dutch countryside, without having to buy a plane ticket or wear wooden clogs (though wooden clogs are welcome on our fields)? Here, at Tulips of the Valley!
What makes us different? What’s our flower power? What, over 7 million tulips aren’t enough?
Besides boasting the largest tulip field out of all the fests, 3-4x more tulips than elsewhere in BC, our festival is also on a working farm. It’s not just an event that’s thrown together. We grow all sorts of things, all year round, and visiting us is like a behind the scenes peek at the real farming experience. We excel in the art of horticulture. We live, breathe and work the earth. Our knowledge of the land, and sustainable gardening practices, helps us bring not only tulips, but other flowers to the fest.
We now have an additional 3 acres and 17 varieties of specialty Double Daffodils, that look like peonies, as well as over 2 acres planted in Hyacinths! Because of this addition, we’ll now be open an extra two weeks early! And if you haven’t smelled the fragrance of a hyacinth, you haven’t lived. It’s heavenly!
THERE WILL ALSO BE:
- Living Art! – come see our Hyacinth Mosaics – yes, gorgeous mosaics made of flowers! There will also be a face cut out mural created by a local Aboriginal artist Fred Jackson.
- The World Friendship Tulip – NEW! We have a bed of the creamy yellow Darwin Hybrid that was selected as the international symbol of friendship and peace by the World Tulip Summit Society.
- Unique Tulip Designs – gather round a bed of tulips in a special design. Last year we had a large 8×12 Canada flag out of tulips! What will we have this year? Come find out…
- Yummy Traditional Dutch Foods – to keep your tummy from rumbling, we offer tasty treats that are made fresh, on-site, such as Specialty Dutch Stroop Waffles, and new this year, the Dutch Specialty Poffertje’s (Dutch mini pancakes), which we serve on weekends! We also have 2-4 food trucks on-site, ready to serve you daily.
- Crafts for Kids – get creative with the kids in our craft tent! Let the tulips inspire your personal works of art!
- Photo Competitions – want to dig-deep and be part of the fest? Enter your festival photos into one of our on-line “Best Photo” competitions, for your chance to win great gifts donated by local businesses. Find us on Instagram or Facebook.
- Welcome Signs in Over 20 Different Languages!
- Our Festival Store – which sells fresh cut and potted tulips and hyacinths, postcards, photo cards and more!
- Bulb Pre -Sales. Pre-order our Canadian-grown bulbs (Tulips and Daffodils) and Dutch grown Hyacinth bulbs for Fall delivery. Just phone in or pick up an order form in our store
- Open 7 Days a Week – because we’ve added our Daffodils and Hyacinths, our festival’s viewing time will be longer, 4-5 weeks!
- Accessible to All – just remember we are on a farm and we are completely weather dependent. We have a beautiful covered area that over looks our fields should the weather make for difficult walking/wheeling around our fields.
- Plenty of Free Parking – we have around 10 acres of field parking, with 5 acres in bark mulch for a better all-weather option. Our gravel driveway can accommodate 8-10 tour buses at one time and 8-10 handicap vehicles. We are doing our best to ensure the land we use for parking can be re-purposed back into viable farm land when we no longer need it. We have chosen Bark/Pole peelings (not Cedar) as our base which over time will compost and put nutrients back into the soil for future healthy farming crops.
Most importantly, the Tulips of the Valley festival celebrates an end to winter and a way for our guests to start enjoying the beauty of spring!
Tulips of the Valley
Yale Road 41310