Tulip safaris cancelled

Matt Usyk, site manager for Tulip Town, checks out tulips that have yet to bloom on Feb. 10.

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Tulip Town will not open as planned Friday for driving tours of its tulips fields as it follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s two-week “stay home, stay heathy” order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Tulip Town had proposed the driving tours last week, after deciding to close its fields to visitors on foot due to concerns about COVID-19. RoozenGaarde had previously announced closure of its gardens and fields indefinitely.

With both major growers of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival closed to the public, where does that leave the festival?

Cindy Verge, the festival’s executive director, said Thursday the message should be clear: Do not come to Skagit County to see tulips.

However, she said she is stopping short of canceling the festival.

“The reason I have not flat out said we’re canceled is I’m holding out hope, and I know it might be a pipe dream,” she said. “I want us to stay where we’re at as long as we need to get this under control. We’re still a month out from the end of April. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do something the last weekend of April?”

The initial two-week “stay home, stay healthy” order is set to remain in effect through April 6, but Inslee said at a Thursday news conference it may need to be extended.

The public may not be able to experience tulips in-person this year, but they can still buy tulip bouquets.

Safeway, Albertsons and independent grocers in the Northwest are stocking their floral departments with RoozenGaarde tulips, according to an announcement on RoozenGaarde’s website.

And Tulip Town is trying out a new program called “Colors for Courage” where the public can donate bouquets to patients in area hospitals and nursing homes, and other community members.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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