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Tulips, Tulips, Tulips

Acres of tulips provide a color carpet each spring in WoodburnAs a guy's guy, a man that loves bacon, football and anything with a motor, when my wife told me that we were going to the Woodburn Tulip Festival, I was anything but excited.

Visions of walking through acres and acres of tulips, talking about which shade of pink or yellow flower would look best in our yard and the overuse of the word "cute," were dancing through my head. But as it turns out, the organizers of the event have more than just flower enthusiasts in mind.

We really try to make it a family event," said Barb Iverson, whose family has owned the farm that is the site of the festival since 1950. "We know not everyone as crazy about flowers as we are, so we try to have other things to do."
The other things include antique steam tractors, local winery and artist booths and even a climbing wall. While the event is anchored in the very colorful tulip and daffodil fields, other events and activities at the farm give something for the whole family to do. And yes, there is even an area for the kids to climb and play.

The event started in 1983 when the family decided to open the fields up to the general public - it has been growing ever since. This year Iverson said she expects 20,000 to 30,000 people at the April event. The festival normally starts at the end of March and runs through late-April.

But the real question is, how do you know when is the best time to see blooming tulips? We can thank the Internet for the answer.

"We can't control Mother Nature," Iverson said with a laugh. "But we have set up on our Web site a map that shows what flowers are blooming. That way people can plan their visit accordingly."

Iverson did say that on average the best time to visit the fields is the second week in April - but again pointed out that she can't exactly push a button and have the fields look like a stunning explosion of color.

With more than 50 acres of different types of flowers, there is usually something in bloom, she said.

A shoemaker creates a pair of souvenir wooden shoes while you wait.When attending the festival, be sure to swing into Woodburn. There are many other events going on inside the city such as crafter shows, art exhibits and other events. Woodburn also has a very large factory outlet shopping mall that attracts thousands throughout the year.

"There is something for everyone this time of year," Iverson said. "We are an event that caters to children, gardeners, young adults - the whole family."

The gift shop at the farm offers not only cut tulips, but also gardening decorations, bulbs and tools and advice. Every year the Iverson family has many members on hand to help answer questions, point out attractions and direct traffic.

"The weather always effects how many people we have come out," Iverson said. "Having an outdoor festival in Oregon, in spring, is a risky business."