by Shawna With the early warmth this spring, we may be in danger of having an almost tulip-less Canadian Tulip Festival (which runs from May 7th - 24th). While this may put a crimp in my role as one of the "Artists in the Tulips" (this will be my second year my images can be found in the Tulip Art gallery in Commissioner's Park by Dow's lake), it in no way means I won't go to the festival with my kids. Sure, it's nice for me to see the tulips and use them as a colourful backdrop for pictures of my nearest-and-dearest, but let's not lose sight of the main reason to go: to let the kids exhaust themselves by hopping them up on sugar at the Fudge Shack and tear around like mad things, all the better to sleep that night!
In truth, there are tons of kid-friendly activities at the Tulip Festival and they almost all come with the bonus of getting out in the fresh air and maybe even learning a little history along the way. To kick off the festival, there's an open air Liberation Street Party planned this year on Sparks St., which is being held in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and Canada's role in it. Throughout the festival there will be children's activities at Major's Hill Park, and a lot of the area's museums are planning programming that links in with the festival. The tulip festival website has details on all of this and more.
The fact is, there's a dizzying variety of programming and there's no way it would be fun to dash from activity to activity, trying to cram it all in; what we do is take a look at the schedule and try to earmark just a couple of things that sound fun on a day or two I'm not officially scheduled to be there. We keep things loose and watch the weather, and if we can go at those times, so much the better. And if things don't align so that we hit all our "planned" events, we try to keep in mind that what the kids really like best is the chance to ride the tulip shuttle bus (a novelty for my suburban children), see the ducks on Dow's Lake, and yes, eat fudge and Beavertails and tear around like mad things.
The better sleep that night is just a fringe benefit.
Shawna is mom to 4 year old Sage and almost-2-year-old Harris. She has been writing online since 2003, and her latest project is a fledgling photography blog. She feels a defensive need to let you know that she herself rides the bus almost every day.