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Take a Sneak Peak Into Downtown Boulder’s Annual Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival

Category: Boulder Blog

Hey Downtown, 

The tulips are beginning to bloom downtown which means one thing…the annual Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival is right around the corner! This Sunday, April 23 from 1 - 5 pm, enjoy live performances, free children’s activities and more as we celebrate the arrival of spring. Admire almost 15,000 colorful tulips decorating the flower boxes along the Pearl Street Mall and join the Tulip Fairy Queen as she “wakes up” the tulips with the help of adorable fairies and elves.  (Actually, this event is a great opportunity to get some additional use out of last year’s Halloween costume! Super heroes and ghosts are also effective in cheering on the blooming tulips!).

With a little research, I discovered that the tulip tradition downtown started in the late 1970s, when Boulder’s then sister city, Meppel, Holland, would send 5,000 tulip bulbs annually to be planted along the Pearl Street Mall. Back then a grand celebration called Boulder In Bloom would welcome residents and visitors to the district. A form of this tradition continues to this day when every fall the City of Boulder’s Parks Department plants 15,000 brand new tulip bulbs that are imported directly from Holland. (And, with the bulbs that previously bloomed, they find new homes with local residents during the annual Tulip Bulb Giveaway.) 

Check out all the family-friendly fun that awaits at this year’s celebration!

Free Live Performances

Head to the 1300 block of Pearl Street to enjoy live music performed by many local artists throughout the afternoon of April 23. Julia Kirkwood kicks things off at 1:00 pm, followed by the Bear Cub Brigade Kid Songs & Singalongs at 2:00 Next, School of Rock Boulder takes the stage at 3:00 pm, so swing by for a heartwarming performance. I have heard that they are incredible performers-I am so excited to hear them play! Finally, celebrate the spring season with a performance of “Wake the Bear” by Boulder’s beloved Jeff & Paige at 4:00 pm. Make sure to grab the kids and join the fun of parades with the Tulip Fairy Queen, leaving from the main stage on the 1300 block at 1:45, 2:45, and 3:45 pm. 

Community Activities

Thanks to many of Boulder’s businesses and nonprofits, there are a variety of children’s activities to participate in downtown. Try your hand at foam sword with Renaissance Adventures, get crafty with clay-making at Studio Arts Boulder and win prizes by “Spin The Wheel” with Out Boulder County and Pedalheads. While most of these activities are free, some will cost money - so be sure to check out the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for more information!


The Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival relies on the help from amazing community members and volunteers each year. If you would like to volunteer to assist with set-up, tear-down, or with any of the activities happening downtown, you can sign up here. Thank you to all of downtown Boulder’s incredible volunteers!

The Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival is the perfect opportunity for you and your loved ones to get out of the house and celebrate the start of spring in Boulder. While you are downtown Sunday, remember to swing by the Boulder County Farmers Market to explore all that Colorado’s local farmers have to offer. Have a wonderful weekend downtown!

Catch you later!


Mentioned in this Post: 1300 Block of Pearl, Downtown Visitor Information Center

Tagged:   Boulder,   Festivals,   Music

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