British Columbia

Abbotsford Tulip Festival delayed by cool weather

It's your only option in the province to see fields of tulips after Agassiz, B.C.'s Tulips of the Valley were cancelled. But organizers of the Abbotsford festival are warning that the flowers aren't in bloom yet.

It's the province's only remaining tulip festival after cancellation of Agassiz's Tulips of the Valley

Organizers say cool overnight temperatures have slowed down the maturation of their tulips. (Abbotsford Tulip Festival/Facebook)

Organizers of the inaugural Abbotsford Tulip Festival are warning the public that even though they're technically open, their fields of tulips have yet to bloom.

"Unfortunately they're not going to bloom for another seven to 10 days," said owner Alexis Warmerdam.

"We had said we would open on March 25, so we did, and we're just trying to make the best of it."

​Despite above average daytime temperatures across the Lower Mainland for the past several weeks, the fourth-generation bulb grower said the weather hasn't been favourable for tulips.

"In February we were having double-digit evening temperatures, and then when those two wind storms came through, they dropped down to two or three degrees and that slowed everything down." 

The young farmer, with a team of approximately 15 people, planted 2.5 million bulbs all in one day on the 4-hectare-field last October, in preparation for the big event.

Tulips of the Valley cancelled

Abbotsford's festival is now the province's sole tulip event after Agassiz, B.C.'s Tulips of the Valley was cancelled in February after more than a decade in operation.

Marius Onos, who organized the Agassiz event with his daughter-in-law, said they had to shut down because they didn't have the land for a festival after their lease ended on Seabird Island.

They're now looking for another location but it's been a challenge to find fertile fields large enough to accommodate the masses of traffic.

Last year, RCMP shut them down temporarily because of parking chaos.

It's a lesson Warmerdam took seriously into consideration prior to the launch of her event.

"I have a six-acre gravel parking lot with bus parking and about 450 parking stalls," she said.

Warmerdam said she didn't know that she would be running the only tulip festival in B.C. when she started planning the event, and hopes her Agassiz competitors get back into the game.

"We wish them all the best and I really hope they find another field because there's obviously lots of interest," she said.

"We've already had lots of people come out and we've only been open for two days."

For those interested in paying a visit, she suggests checking the festival's field report on their website for updates


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