Tulip tidings; Skagit Valley Festival runs through April

As executive director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival since July 2003, Cindy Verge knows her bulbs.

Tulip fields will be blooming, she says, and spring will be underway as this Take Five issue hits the street.

Spring is early this year, she says, and so are the tulips. Verge advises visitors to come anytime between now and April 12 for peak blooms.

“After April 12, we will likely begin to lose some tulips fields, as RoozenGaarde will begin topping fields,” she says.

Topping occurs because tulips are a crop and the flowers have to be removed at a certain point to make the bulb grow properly and to prevent disease in the fields.

Verge says the two gardens, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town, are gorgeous, and growers in the valley tell her that both gardens will have lovely tulips in bloom the entire month of April.

News of note from Verge: RoozenGaarde plants more than 300,000 bulbs in its 3.5-acre garden, and Tulip Town tallies nearly 1 million bulbs planted in its field.

All of those bulbs bloom at different times, she says, creating a changing and beautiful landscape throughout April.

Admission to the gardens is $5 per person; kids 6 and younger get in free.

Other festival suggestions from Verge include:

• Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue, daily, April 4-26.

• Tulip Run, April 4.

• Tulip Parade and Frolic, April 11 in La Conner.

• Tulip Pedal (20-, 40- or 60-mile rides), April 18.

New events this year include a boat show in Anacortes on April 11, an exhibit by the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group at Edison Eye Gallery, and the Mount Vernon Library used book sale April 17-18.

Verge also suggests that people check out some of the farms in the area. visit Taylor Shellfish on Chuckanut Drive, and get close to alpacas at South Fork Farms just outside of Mount Vernon.