SPRING GROVE – George and Wendy Richardson pointed toward a northwesterly field on their 500-acre farm.
Soon there will be brilliant oranges, deep reds, bright pinks, purples, yellows and golds as the 300,000 tulip bulbs planted there begin to emerge in bloom.
Thirty varieties with names such as Apricot Impression, Golden Parade and Apeldoorn’s Elite were planted in a 5-acre former hay field at Richardson Farm.
The public is invited to enjoy the splendor during the farm’s first-ever Tulip Festival, which is expected to last from about mid-April through mid-May. For the latest on what stage the blossoming process is at, check the farm’s Facebook page.
The fest will be open daily while the flowers are in bloom. There will be a pick-your-own area, food trucks, beer and wine, live music on weekends, free games such as giant checkers, giant Jenga, and bean bags, a picnic area and a walking trail along a 36-acre lake.
Wendy Richardson said her brother-in-law first broached the tulip fest idea a couple years ago after sunflower fields were becoming popular in the area.
“Robert and Carol [his wife] traveled to Washington state, where they grow a lot of tulips, and did some sightseeing and research,” she said.
The Richardsons, who now include sixth-generation Ryan and his wife, Kristen, in the family business, have been adding reasons to visit their Spring Grove farm at 909 English Prairie Road for decades. They began offering cut-your-own Christmas trees in 1986. This fall will mark the 21st year for the renowned Richardson Corn Maze.
Jaki Berggren, executive director of Visit McHenry County, said the Tulip Festival is an exciting addition to the area’s outdoor spring activities.
“The Richardsons are, once again, investing in wholesome, fun-on-the-farm offerings that everyone can enjoy,” she said. “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with them in spreading the word.”
George Richardson said the tulips were planted in November. There are about 30,000 in a sunburst design that should make for a great photo backdrop, 70,000 of mixed colors in a pick-your-own area, and 200,000 in color blocks with walkways between, he said.
“We planted 10,000 bulbs each of 30 different varieties,” he said, “so the maturity and colors will be varied. It is going to be spectacular.”
Tulip Festival hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week. The farm’s gift shop, which features a wine-tasting area, jams, salsas, doughnuts, kettle corn, T-shirts, trinkets and restrooms, will be open until 8 p.m. COVID-19 safety measures will be in place.
Admission to the Tulip Festival costs $15 per person on weekends and $12 on weekdays. It is free for children 3 years old and younger. Reservations are not required. Admission includes one tulip of your choice. Additional flowers will be available in the pick-your-own area for $1 each. Richardson Farm has been in the family since 1840.
Information, including updates on what’s in bloom, can be found at richardsonfarm.com and Facebook.