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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival welcomes back visitors for the season

After a virtual festival in 2020, the Tulip Festival will welcome visitors with some changes in 2021.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which was virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic, began April 1 as is allowing visitors at limited capacity.

The valley has 350 acres of flowers. This includes 50 acres of fields and a 5-acre garden at Roozengaarde. 

Brent Roozen with Roozengaarde said the garden alone has roughly 1 million flowers. 

Roozgaarde said when it opens Thursday, the site will begin with 20% capacity, which is about 1,000 visitors at a time. 

Down the street, Tulip Town will allow visitors to purchase a three-hour timeslot and allow up to 3,000 visitors at a time. 

Visitors must follow social distancing and masks are required. 

After last year's virtual festival, the gardens are looking forward to welcoming people back. Roozen said the festival makes up 80% of Roozengaarde's annual business. In 2020, the garden was able to get some funding by selling tulips online and hosting a fundraise with a local artist. 

The region's economy is greatly impacted by the festival. Tulip Festival Executive Director Cindy Verge says the annual event typically brings roughly 400,000 visitors and $65 million into the local economy. 

With limited capacity Roozen believes some weekends tickets will sell out. He said demand should be lighter on the week days. 

The festival run through April 30, but Roozen said if the weather remains cool the tulips could stay in bloom into May.