Oregon

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and Festival

The Tulip Fest feels like a country fair with acres of blooming tulips

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is a wonderful place for a day with the family.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is a wonderful place for a day with the family. — Photo courtesy Timothy Fowler

If a tulip is a beautiful thing, a field of tulips is awe-inspiring. Every spring since 1985 the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm 45 minutes south of Portland, Oregon, has hosted Tulip Fest, allowing visitors to “get into the dirt.” Some variety of tulip is in full bloom from the last week of March to the first week in May––the dates of the Tulip Fest. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is located just outside Woodburn, Oregon.

Barb Iverson, one of the six siblings involved in the farm, said the Tulip Festival and other events have changed over the years to their current offerings. 

“If it doesn’t work, throw it out. We can make changes overnight,” said Iverson. “I enjoy seeing everyone having such a good time. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is a place for all seasons, but the spring tulip festival brings people from all over the world.” 

While some features of the festival have changed over the years, 16 hectares (40 acres) of blooming tulips remain the stars of the Tulip Fest. But there are games for the whole family, train tours for the kids, wood-stoked steam-powered tractors that chug and whistle, and a food fair full of smoked, barbecued and grilled meats and sausages. There’s wine tastings and wooden shoe-making demonstrations. Wooden shoes, the namesake of the farm, are made in a shed on site. Well-behaved dogs are especially welcomed. 

Sunrise over Mount Hood and the tulips is special.
Sunrise over Mount Hood and the tulips is special. — Photo courtesy Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Photographers can purchase an early morning pass to get on site and set up tripods and cameras before sunrise. The magic hour after the sun rises that photography textbooks talk about comes to life at the farm. The bonus for photographers at that time of day is there are few people to inadvertently step into your perfect photo.

Since 1985 the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has been open to the public and last year they had nearly 200,000 visitors. Sample the handcrafted wine and wander the farm Friday, Saturday and Sunday––all summer long. Guests can also check out the 28-hectare (70-acre) industrial hemp operation. The farm produces cannabidiol (CBD) oil and their commitment to vertical integration means visitors can buy product in the gift store on site.

A rough-cut pair of shoes are ready for sanding.
A rough-cut pair of shoes are ready for sanding. — Photo courtesy Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Farm hands dig tulips the first part of June using a specially designed machine purchased from Holland. Tulips are planted in rolls of special netting 300 metres (98 feet) long. The machine lifts the net and separates soil from bulbs. It is an amazing process to watch.

The next big public event is Saturday, September 22, 2018­­––Mud, Sweat and Beers. That’s when the folks on the farm have some serious fun, break out the backhoe and dig pits to fill with water-making obstacles for run participants with multiple mud baths. Mud, Sweat and Beers is a fundraiser for the Woodburn Rotary Club. 

In the meantime, put on your bucket list visiting the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in the spring for a spectacular collection of photographic opportunities and the feeling of an old country fair. 

 

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