Tulip Festival goes on despite soggy day

May 12, 2018 05:54 PM

ALBANY - Practically everyone already knew the forecast ahead of time.

“It always rains,” said Michelle Chavers.

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But when the flowers are this beautiful, this plentiful, and this alluring, you simply can't stay away from Washington Park in springtime.

“This is such a wonderful event. This is beautiful. We have to keep coming to these things and encourage people to come so the events will keep coming here,” said Barbara Dey.

When tulips are in bloom, 90,000 of them in this case, people are seemingly oblivious to anything that might be falling from the sky.

“We're just going to enjoy the day. We figured we'll dry out,” said Karen Olson.

Actually, the rain did a world of good for the tulips this year. The colors were bright. The plants were healthy. And people were noticing.

“Better this year. Last year we came and it rained and everything was kind of wilted. This year everything looks really great,” said Warren Lizotte.

Horticulture might be the highlight for some people, but many come for the parade and pageantry of selecting a Tulip Queen, something that 23-year old Sawyer Cresap never thought she'd become.

“I told my friends and family I'll see you after but don't make any bets,” she said.

When the tiara was placed on her head, Sawyer realized she lost the bet.

“I'm so excited to carry this tradition forward and to be part of all that makes Albany such a wonderful place to live,” she said.

While enjoying the atmosphere of Washington Park, it's easy to lose track of the economic impact that 90,000 tulips bring into the community. The Tulip Festival is one of many tourism highlights each year. It is an industry that brings an estimated $968 million into Albany County each year.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she certainly notices the crowd size at the event.

“People come to this festival, I have found, no matter what the weather. I arrived and there were already hundreds of people walking around the tulips,” Sheehan said.

And the crowd size grew even larger as food vendors opened for business.

“Well, I know I'm going to take me something home to eat,” said Navralean Shavers.

And let's not forget crafts and clothing. But again, everything begins with the tulips.

“It's a nice, refreshing way to enjoy spring and know summer is just around the corner,” said Michelle Chavers.


WNYT Staff

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