Jack Yoke, 5, runs through the RoozenGaarde tulip fields in 2021 in Mount Vernon. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jack Yoke, 5, runs through the RoozenGaarde tulip fields in 2021 in Mount Vernon. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Tulip Festival brings spectacular traffic jams, blooms to Skagit Valley

Thousands will visit the annual flower fest that kicks off Saturday and runs through April. Here are some tips.

MOUNT VERNON — It’s about to get ugly on I-5, but for pretty reasons.

Saturday kicks off the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival that goes on for the month of April. Thousands of people will travel to experience the annual tulip sensation.

The first tulip buds are late bloomers this year, so if you want full color and stunning photos, wait a week or so and check for updates before you go.

Spend the day in fields of flowers, not lines of cars.

Weekday visits typically have minimal traffic other than the usual I-5 clogs. On weekends, arrive early when the display gardens open. Peak weekend visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Use alternate I-5 exits. Many travelers take exit 226 onto Highway 536 aka Kincaid Street into downtown Mount Vernon, which connects to shops and restaurants, but traffic can quickly back up onto I-5. Construction could add congestion this year.

To avoid the fray, use exit 221. Head west toward Conway and La Conner to enter the flower fields from the south.

Or take exit 230 to head west on Highway 20 to Highway 536 or take a left on various Skagit County roads.

Some of the tulip fields, events, attractions and display gardens are miles apart. Don’t stop in the middle of the road or block private driveways.

To view tulips up close and on foot, visit local gardens RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, Tulip Valley Farms and Garden Rosalyn. Advance ticket purchase online can save you money to spend on bulbs and eats.

For more information and the online interactive map, visit tulipfestival.org.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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