Saturday, April 28, 2012

wooden shoe tulip festival, woodburn, or. – 2012

Start a new family tradition

I've lived in Portland seven years and each year I yearn to go to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival located in Woodburn, about 35 miles South of Portland – six to ten miles off I-5.  Finally, motivated by a groupon for a macro-photography class, presented by Canon and sponsored by Pro Photo Supply, I went.
About forty students attended.  I got one of the last two seats before others showed up.  The Canon instructor went over a few basic composition concepts before cutting us loose.  We made our way out to about a five-acre rectangle-shaped sea of color where tulips are planted in alternating rows by variety and color:  red, white, pink, deep velvet maroon – called "Queen of Night" (it almost looks black), yellow, and fuschia.  The widest row of tulips is a multi-colored, mixed-variety.  To prevent disease, they rotate fields every five years.

Tulips are planted in October and are in bloom for over eight weeks, from late February to late April, depending on the variety.  The majority bloom for three weeks, beginning the end of March, depending on the weather.  This year the festival is open five weeks, from March 30th to May 6th.

The Iverson family began growing tulips in 1974 and opened the fields to the public in 1985.  In addition to tulips, the farm grows wheat, grass seed, sweet corn, green beans, clover, potatoes, and daffodils.

By the time I made my way to a raised viewing platform and a few old-fashioned steam tractors with huge, bright-yellow, spoked wheels, at the far end of the field, the rain was falling and the wind was blowing.  Although it was a struggle my shoulder complained about later, I did a fairly good job of juggling my camera, my camera bag, a hanky, half a tuna sandwich, a bottle of water, and an umbrella.  I was very grateful for that umbrella, without which I don't think I'd have made it to the windmill where a display of tulips are potted and planted to give you ideas for your own yard.  Near the windmill is a fun pair of over-sized, yellow wooden clogs with requisite hand-painted flowers.
Monday through Friday entrance for cars is $5; $10 on weekends.  Bikes and motorcycles are $2, and buses are $20.  A car season-pass is $40 and allows repeat entry until the end of the festival. With the value you created by loading up the car with everyone and your neighbor, you can justify the children's activities, which include a "cow train" and a "wooden shoe" train ($2).  Weather-permitting activities cost $3-$7, and include a rock-climbing wall, pony rides, zip lines, and single-person trampolines with harnesses.  Adjacent to these activities is a free play area with a play structure and a large slide.  I'm not sure if the toy-duck races, located near play structure nearby are free or not.  Amenities at the festival include food, gift shop, tulip market (ATM machine), covered picnic tables, and vendors.
(The above information about the farm was obtained from a Tulip Festival brochure)

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