Tulips, sunshine, Dutch dancing, and dogs--Tulip Time is world-famous for their beautiful flowers and family-friendly festivities. There's Dutch dancing, artisan markets, vintage baseball, and Dutch Marktplaats. There's carnival food, like elephant ears, fat balls, french fries, and lemonade... You know, all the stuff you were trying to avoid on your diet. But when this carnival happens once a year, there's no other option--you indulge!
In the past, I've gone, but I wasn't able to fully enjoy all Tulip Time had to offer. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people, tents, and events. Traffic is insane, and you have to know the "secret squirrel" parking spots. (Secret squirrel is a term my family uses in reference to the good parking spots only we know about.) A different year, I was working full-time and didn't have the opportunity to invest a couple hours downtown.
This year is going to be different. I plan to attend every free activity from the parade to the Dutch market. I've already braved downtown on opening day to grab some pictures and scope out the terrain.
I truly forgot how busy downtown gets! This year seems exceptionally crazy. Some of the churches have wizened up and started charging for parking... there goes my secret squirrel spots! I'll find another good spot and share that with you in a later post.
Noah and I went downtown on Saturday and got a couple of our favorites: french fries and lemonade. We stopped at D&C's Express Pitstop for french fries. This stand was found in the carnival section down the main street. A large is $8.50. We topped ours with malt vinegar and salt. Now, if you're not a fan of malt vinegar, I highly recommend that you try this combination! I HATE, rather LOATHE vinegar, but this snack has started to change my mind about the strange liquid.
We also grabbed a refreshing cup of lemonade. Essentially, it's a cup of sugar with a smidge of water and lemon. The standard size is $7 (you can re-use the cup and pay $4 the next time you visit the stand). Life-pro tip: bring a water bottle to Tulip Time. When you're done with your purchased lemonade, there's enough sugar, lemon, and ice to make an entirely new cup of lemonade!
I'm sure you can tell just from my two purchases-- Tulip Time is pretty expensive. Most families will pack a picnic lunch and leave it in their car. Don't do this. Yes, pack a lunch, but carry it with you! It'll be close to a 15-20 minute walk to get your food. By the time you start heading back to your car, your kids will already be hangry and crying, you'll be frustrated, and Tulip Time will not be pleasant.
Hopefully these few tips will give you a little know-how as you approach Tulip Time. If you have any questions or recommendations for reviews, let me know! I'll try to include those in the next post.