I had begun the morning of May 4th walking in Cedar Rapids for Walk MS in NewBo, which was great as always. I suppose in the spirit of making up for all the walking I don’t do at my office job, I decided to go to Pella, as I heard Tulip Time was going on. The office needed something colorful to put on the walls, because I guess not everyone appreciates half-naked women on the walls of a dental office – weird, I know – so, why not flowers?
Driving there, I found it funny seeing all the traffic to and from this typically quiet town. I quickly realized that this must be something amazing, because I had to park several blocks away from the main block. I parked and wasn’t sure of where to go. Not because I couldn’t see where everyone else was headed, but because of the fact that even where I parked there were an abundance of tulips. They were EVERYWHERE! The entire town was saturated with colorful tulips of all varieties. Did you know there were different types of Tulips? Me neither! Smooth, rough, some with pokey looking petals, and they came in all sizes, colors, and patterns. Oh, and photographers. As you can imagine, there were LOTS of us.
I did my best to capture a variety of shots, while also trying to just enjoy the festivities. And of course, dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodging the cameras – hahaha! I shot by the lake with the fountain in the center, then made my way down Main Street, paying attention to the little details. Things like the way light passed through certain petals and the street crew with an already prepared truck on standby for cleanup. The things that get forgotten or missed in big crowds.
In my self-guided tour (running around like a mad woman wielding a Nikon), I happened upon a sweet couple. They were sitting on a bench behind a statue, with a small field of red tulips behind them, in a sea of people. They looked happy; just enjoying the moment and relaxing in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. I couldn’t help myself, of course, and approached them, because that’s just what I do!
“Have you two gotten a photo of yourselves today?” I asked. The woman excitedly answered, “No, we haven’t!’ I had to fix that!
Now, I didn’t care that I was holding a couple people up by taking a few pictures and standing there talking with these people. These are memories for myself and my subjects! I found out their names, Kim and Dan, and Kim showed me her shoes. She’d carved them herself out of a pre-made form, and customized it with a tulip, her name, and some other meaningful carvings, but my favorite thing was that she has had them so long that some of her carvings have warn off on the bottom. So much character! That’s the stuff I love!
I then walked through some buildings that contained the charm that only a small heritage-filled town in Iowa can. I found a lamp with delicate details, beautiful centerpieces, and proud Pella citizens happy to share their knowledge. I finally made my way back to my car, snapping pictures all along the way.
Let me preface this next sentence with this: I am not a flower person. I usually don’t care a whole lot about flowers. That being said, I think this trip has changed my mind! I would absolutely recommend anyone go see this event at least once. It is a sight to behold!
Please feel free to view and share the full gallery of my Tulip Time trip here: https://annamae.photography/2019/05/08/tulip-time-2019/
***Copyrighted by Anna Mae Photography. Please contact me for permission to use or to purchase images.