Mo Flowers Mo Money: A Flower Festival Brings Prosperity to WA State

Tourists see colorful flowers. Businesses see green.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a sight to behold, with over a million tourists visiting each year to witness the vibrant fields of flowers. But beyond the beauty of the tulips, the festival plays a crucial role in the local economy, producing a significant financial impact. For some businesses, the festival brings in as much as half their annual income.

Cindy Verge, Executive Director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, says, “We estimate that $60 million is spent in the Skagit Valley during the yearly Tulip Festival.”

As the festival kicks off once again, businesses in Skagit Valley have geared up for the surge in visitors, hoping to cash in on the festival’s economic impact. Voted “One of the Eight Best Tulip Festivals in the World” by 1-800 Flowers and fourth “Best Flower Show in the U.S.” by Oprah Magazine, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival continues to draw an increasing number of onlookers each year.

Vendors Aim to Grow Income During the Festival

Visitors come from all over the country and even internationally to visit Skagit Valley, spreading their tourist dollars all along the I-5 corridor during their stay. Hotels near the tulip festival often reach capacity, and travelers are encouraged to make reservations early. Retail stores, restaurants, tour guides, and Mom and Pop shops all hope to take advantage of the extra traffic to increase their annual revenue.

Tristan Sakuma, the owner of Fidalgo Fudge in Anacortes, Washington, says sales from her booth at Roozengaard display gardens account for as much as 50% of her annual income. 2022 was a banner year for sales, and she anticipates 2023 to be just as good, if not better.

Year Round Planning

According to Visit Skagit Valley, the Tulip Festival is the largest in the USA by the number of farms involved, the size of fields on display, and the length of time the tulips bloom. To produce an event of this magnitude, preparations begin early in anticipation of the influx of visitors that descend upon Skagit Valley each spring.

Verge explains, “We begin working on the next year’s festival right after the end of each festival. This includes everything from meetings with various entities for the events and activities to publishing our brochure.” Verge also says they “have traffic meetings to talk about the flow of traffic, signage, etc.”

They aren’t the only ones planning ahead of time for a successful event. Small business owners counting on the income boost from the festival begin planning months ahead of time.

“Last year, we made 3,000 pounds of fudge to sell at the festival,” says Sakuma. “This year, we installed a walk-in freezer in our storefront location specifically for the tulip festival and began prepping in February. I doubled the amount of ingredients I normally order and started working 10-12 hour days making fudge that we cut and froze in slabs and will pull out the day before it’s needed to take to the festival. This year, my goal is to sell 4,000 pounds.”

Weather Plays a Role in Preparation

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1st-30th each year. Peak bloom typically occurs mid-April, when the majority of tulips will be in full bloom, creating a stunning display of colors – from deep reds and pinks to bright yellows and oranges – across the Valley.

However, the exact timing can vary depending on the weather. Mother Nature is in charge of when the tulips bloom, requiring flexibility among business owners trying to plan for the surge in business.

Sakuma says, “I keep an eye on what’s blooming in the Valley. When the cherry trees and daffodils start blooming, I can pretty much plan for when the tulips will bloom. One spring was particularly warm, and the festival kicked off in mid-March!”

Verge suggests visitors check for the most up-to-date information about the festival, including which fields are in bloom.

Tourists Can Plan, Too

Mid-April is typically the busiest time for the festival, with large crowds of visitors hoping to time their visit to see the tulips in their prime and enjoy the annual street fair hosted by the festival organizers. Visitors can tour the tulips during the first week of April or midweek instead of on the weekend to avoid the most crowded times.

Ashlee Fechino, travel writer at The Happiness Function, shares, “We flew to Washington to visit family in Seattle. They couldn’t wait to show us Washington’s famous Skagit Valley tulip fields. We visited during the middle of the week, and there were no crowds! We had the best time.”

Another option is to visit the festival during the last week of April. While some of the tulips will have already been cut, there are still plenty of flowers to see, and the crowds will have thinned out significantly.

More Opportunities for Tourists and Local Businesses

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival offers much more than just its breathtaking tulip fields. The festival hosts activities and events for visitors to enjoy throughout the month of April, including live music, art shows, and local cuisine served by various food vendors.

Beyond adding to the festivities for event-goers to enjoy, these events create a much-anticipated opportunity for local businesses who hope their bank accounts grow as stunningly as the tulips.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Karee Blunt is the founder of, a travel blog focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.

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