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Where to see color in the NW

Floral displays popping up around the area

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a popular destination for flower lovers in the Spring. JBLM PAO photo.

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Recent rains have primed the ground, and the warmth of spring is setting flowers to budding. If you’re ready to feast your eyes on tulips or dally among the daffodils, there are a plethora of pretty posies highlighted in upcoming Pacific Northwest parades and fancy floral festivals.

One of the largest and grandest festivities in the region is the Daffodil Festival and Parade, which this year culminates in a 26-mile-long parade that flows through four cities in Pierce County April 8. The 84th annual Daffodil Parade begins at 10:15 a.m. in Tacoma; 12:45 p.m. in Puyallup; 2:30 p.m. in Sumner; and 5 p.m. in Orting.

A map of the parade is available on the Daffodil Festival website —

The theme for this year is “Daffodil Paradise.” There are expected to be more than 170 entries in the parade — for a total of 5,800 participants — including 26 marching bands, more than 30 daffodil-decorated floats and other mounted and marching units, according to Steve James, executive director of the Daffodil Festival.

“This is expected to be the biggest in our 84-year history,” James said, adding that each of the parade cities is unique, with downtown Tacoma’s having the most cement area and Puyallup being the largest number of spectators.

Other events at the festival include the selection and coronation of the Daffodil Queen, from the 23 already selected Daffodil Princesses. This occurs at the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, in Tacoma, Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at the festival website or at the box office. There also is a Daffodil 5K Challenge in each of the four event cities April 9.

Also a colorful event is the Spring Fair at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup April 20 to 23. Times are: April 20 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., April 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and April 23 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Spring Fair offers a variety of activities, including monster trucks, garden exhibits, dog tricks and pig races. There’s also livestock shows, free kids activities, comedy and musical entertainment.

The Spring Fair is free for ages 18 and younger on opening day. A Military Appreciation Day is set for April 21, with free admission for service members, as well as disabled veterans with valid military identification.

Cost at the gate is $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 18. Children age 5 and younger are free. There’s a $2 discount on regular prices when ordered online by April 20. Parking is free. For more information, visit

Another fun family activity is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, Wash. It’s about 60 miles north of Seattle, but you won’t have to tiptoe when you visit this must-see for botany enthusiasts and others who enjoy the breathtaking colors and beauty of tulip fields and display gardens.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is in its 34th year and involves a host of activities for families and individuals of all ages in April. More than 1 million bulbs are planted in the gardens, which have been part of the area since the early 1900s. Crops of blooming field tulips can be viewed at both RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town; both charge admission. Though the fields are accessible throughout the week, weekdays tend to be less crowded.

Because blooming times for the tulips can’t be scheduled exactly, bloom status can be obtained online at map or by calling, 360-428-5959. Tulip crops also are rotated, so it’s important to get a new map each year. Maps are available at or at

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