No Tulip Parade but … local color substitutes
March 17, 2021
A dozen La Conner shop windows are in flower as organizers prepare for a somewhat restrained Tulip Festival.
“Last spring, our flower growers lived through multiple contingency plans that ended in ‘we can’t,’” said Cindy Verge, executive director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
This year is all about “we can,” she says, although beloved events like the Kiwanis Salmon Barbeque and La Conner Tulip Parade are on hold for one more year.
In place of the usual lineup of town pets, farm animals, bands and personalities, a virtual county-wide “Tulips on Parade” is planned. La Conner Marina harbormaster Darla Pyke is parade chair.
Pyke and Verge hope that businesses decked out with tulip themes and gardeners with tulip-filled front yards will register online for the virtual parade. Registered locations and their photos will be added to an interactive online map.
Verge is optimistic that people from all corners of the county will enter the parade – and that visitors will use the map to drive by homes or businesses and vote for their favorites on April 10, the official parade date. The grand prize for the People’s Choice entry will come from parade sponsor Washington Federal.
Will it work? The Skagit County Historical Museum is about to find out.
The centerpiece of the official parade entry’s window decorating plans are garlands of artificial spring flowers that previously adorned Mary Davis Lighting. Davis donated her seasonal store decorations to the La Conner Chamber of Commerce when she closed her store.
Outside the museum, visitors can help themselves to brochures about the history of the Skagit County tulip industry. On April 10 and other weekend dates, director Jo Wolfe thinks the Jesus Guillén exhibit will be a draw.
“A traffic jam on South 4th would be just great!” said Wolfe.
The Museum of Northwest Art is also an official parade entry. So is the Civic Garden Club’s Butterfly Garden.
Not so official are the many First Street storefront windows that artist Erica Knapp is painting.
Last spring, Linda Banaszak of the Caravan Gallery hired Knapp to brighten her store windows.
Knapp’s tulips and daffodils enhanced her spring-themed window display, said Banaszak. Once other merchants saw them, “they were excited about working with Erica.”
Shannon Carpenter, who opened La Conner Flowers and Gifts on February 1, thinks the spring window art is just one more amazing aspect of La Conner. Knapp painted the windows and a bouquet on the flower seller’s front door.
Banaszak is also behind the four dozen or so blue ceramic planters scattered around the commercial area. Planted with spring bulbs by the Civic Garden Club, the pots boost the town’s party look.
The Chamber of Commerce is also offering colorful #LoveLaConner tulip cutouts for merchants to display in windows.
“We think visitors will be eager to visit La Conner and the surrounding valley this spring,” said Chamber director Heather Carter. “I’m excited as we move into Phase 3 that our local merchants will be able to make up for lost time.”
For information on how to register your store, home, garden, tractor, barn or other entry on the Parade route, visit https://tulipfestival.org/event/wafd-bank-tulips-on-parade/
Contact Knapp to get your windows painted: https:/ericaknappartanddesign.com/
If you have Blue Pots from previous years, call Banaszak to have them replanted: 360-466-4808; 360-333-1933.
Visit the Museum of Northwest Art website https://www.loc8nearme.com/