Travel Oregon - Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

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This past April, we drove down to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. While dahlias may be my favorite flower, tulips take the silver medal, so I was psyched to wander through
and snap photos of fields of vibrant, rainbow colored blooms the likes of the Holland tulip fields or Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Although the flowers themselves were stunning, we found ourselves disappointed by the festival as a whole. As we got close to the farm, we came upon a line of traffic that I, in denial, assumed had to be for something else going on in the area. Surely, all of these people weren't headed to see tulips. Well, after spending well over an hour idling along (while blasting Du Hast as people walked by our window looking satisfyingly surprised 😂) just get to the farm and then to park, we came to understand just how packed the place really was. There were so many people... and unexpectedly, so many children. I had to get crafty with camera angles in an attempt to not get 100 people in the background of every shot. The fields themselves were smaller than I expected, so that didn't help spread out the crowd.

The whole event is over-commercialized and not so much about the flowers as much as it is almost a small carnival of sorts that just so happens to be located among some fields of tulips. There was on-site food; a coffee cart; hot air balloon rides; tram and wagon hay rides; children's activities like pony rides, a rock wall, zip line, bungee jumper, bounce houses, and a giant slide; steam tractors; wooden shoe making demonstrations; a vineyard tasting room... you get the point.

We were also surprised to learn that there is an admission fee just to enter the festival. You expect to pay for your food and beverages and any cut flowers or bulbs you may buy, but on top of that and the admission fee, most of the children's activities were also an additional charge.
If you're looking for a family-friendly event not far from the city, this might be the perfect way to spend an afternoon. But if you were just looking to come peacefully stroll through the rows of tulips, perhaps with a drink in hand (as we were and had misguidedly assumed after our experience at the Swan Island Dahlia Festival), this was not your scene.
My recommendation? If you want to visit because of the flowers and not all of the other hoopla, avoid the crowds by stopping by on a weekday or choose the morning photography pass.
Lessons learned for this spring when we visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!🌷

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