© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Eight-year-old Brooklyn Revington checks out the tuliops in Stratford Saturday during the Kaleidoscope 2014 Festival.
Opening of Points East Coastal Drive Tulip U-Pick part of Stratford Kaleidoscope Festival
STRATFORD - A field of blooming tulips was a warm sight for Islanders and tourists alike here on Saturday.
Organizers with the Points East Coastal Drive U-Pick tulip field estimated more than 1,000 individuals went through the site during the opening day.
While the bulbs have just begun blooming, the mix of colours was a welcomed signal to the end of the long winter.
“It’s great to be outdoors and get that spring and summer feeling, it’s just nice to be outside,” said Stratford resident Brett Revington, who was at the field with wife Karen, daughter Brooklyn and son Zachary.
“When all the rows are in bloom, it’s gorgeous,” added Karen.
The family was one of many that went through for the opening day, which was also part of the Stratford Kaleidoscope Festival.
The field, located at Balderston’s Farm, saw 250,000 Vanco Farms tulip bulbs planted in October 2012.
Doug Deacon, who was one of the driving forces behind the project, said more than 5,000 individuals came out last year to see the tulips in bloom.
This year will only be bigger, he said.
“It’s a big draw, every weekend will be really busy,” said Deacon. “Seeing the success of the Ottawa Tulip Festival and knowing that the only tulip grower in eastern North America is in P.E.I., it gives an opportunity to plant tulips in a volume comparable to Ottawa. I think, over time, it could be as big an event for P.E.I. as it is in Ottawa.
“It attracts thousands of people there and we’re into the thousands already.”
The tulip field is an initiative of Points East Coastal Drive as a way to attract visitors to eastern P.E.I.
Patsy Gotell, executive director of Points East Coastal Drive, said Saturday saw visitors from Moncton, Halifax and even Australia.
She said visitors will be able to pick bulbs for the next month.
“As long as the tulips are blooming, we’ll be here selling,” she said. “It’s only for a short season so come enjoy it.”
Part of the money from tulips sold goes towards Easter Seals.
The opening weekend of the tulip field also included some local artisan displays and live entertainment as part of the 2014 Stratford Kaleidoscope Festival.
Running for the entire long weekend, the festival is hosted by the town in partnership with P.E.I. 2014 and is being held in three different venues.
The Cotton Centre includes a number of heritage displays, gardening workshops and a traditional English tea, while Stratford Town Hall has a sample of ethnic food, a multicultural children’s concert and the Filipino Sportsfest.
”Stratford is proud of its diversity. This festival will provide a unique opportunity to showcase this diversity while providing residents and Islanders of all ages and interests a wide-range of events to enjoy,” said Mayor David Dunphy.
The Dandelion Festival will also take place at Stratford Town Centre on Victoria Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
That event will offer workshops on cooking with dandelions, urban gardening, and home-made personal care products. There will also be music, samples of dandelion pancakes, indoor and outdoor activities as well as information booths with a focus on health and sustainability.
Trius Transit will be providing free continuous service between the venues throughout the weekend.
Drop-off and pick-up times are posted at each allocation and can also be found online, along with a complete listing of festival events, www.townofstratford.ca.
More information on the tulip field can be found at www.pointseastcoastaldrive.com