The Festival of Tulips is the only event of its kind in Alabama. Photo by Ariel Hall
As the crowd ebbed and flowed throughout the day, patrons of American Village were excited to attend the third annual Festival of Tulips and hopefully take home an armful of flowers.
Located between Montevallo and Alabaster, American Village is home to many historically-based programs, and while they may be most famous for their Fourth of July celebration, this sweet spring program is worth checking out.
Currently Alabama’s only you-pick tulip festival, it offers a plethora of colorful flowers and a gorgeous historical backdrop to take them all in. This year the program ran from mid-February to mid-March and boasted 100,000 ready-to-pick tulips for guests to come and harvest.
The Festival of Tulips began in 2017 when American Village CEO Tom Walker was tasked with coming up with an idea to bring in more visitors throughout the spring season. During a visit to Haymarket, a vintage town in Virginia, Walker was enamored by Burnside Farms’ pick-your-own-tulips farm. He then worked with them to help recreate the idea at the American Village and the Festival of Tulips was born.
According to Melanie Pool, the marketing and communications director at American Village, Walker decided on Tulips because he “thought that the blooming flowers would complement the campus of historically-inspired buildings.”
The tulips also help to draw a crowd to the village that might not normally come. “[Visitors] come to see and pick the beautiful flowers, but we hope they learn something about American history while they are here,” said Poole.
The program appears to work effectively, as it has drawn around 3,000 to 4,000 visitors annually to American Village, some of which might not have ever heard of the destination otherwise. One such visitor was Mars Peterson, a sophomore in the University of Montevallo’s Theatre Department, who found out about the festival through a Facebook ad.
“Some Montevallo people shared the event, and I thought it sounded really cute,” Peterson said, also noting that the background of tulips made for really nice pictures and that the festival was a “fun little event” that was well priced for the activities offered.
Aside from the Festival of Tulips, the $10 admission also gets visitors into the American Village’s daily programming, titled “The Liberty Experience.”
“The Liberty Experience” allows visitors to actively participate in the Revolution in a hands-on way. They offer activities such as Games on the Green and fifteen-minute sketches about colonial life to educate and involve visitors in the history of our nation. Their campus is also the home to the Randall Museum, as well as the National Veterans Shrine.
Even though the festival has come to a close for this year, the American Village is already preparing for next spring’s Tulip Festival. Until then, “The Liberty Experience” is still ongoing, and one can visit Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Katy Barnes is a writer for The Alabamian. She is a third year theatre major who enjoys movies, comics, and Montevallo culture. Previously she has written a Lifestyle Column for the Alabamian.