In 2021, Lakeland Flowers opened as a small u-pick operation before a devastating flood hit that November and prevented them from opening the following year.
Now, the family-run operation is back and reviving the Abbotsford Tulip Festival, positioning it as Canada’s largest tulip festival with 27 acres and over 70 tulip varieties.
“Bloom, the original Abbotsford Tulip Festival, was a successful event that brought hundreds of thousands of people to Abbotsford to experience 10 acres of vibrant flowers,” says Craig Nichols, Executive Director of Tourism Abbotsford in a press release.
“[Lakeland Flowers] Owner and organizer, Alexis Szarek (nee Warmerdam), did an excellent job of creating and operating this festival. To have a tulip festival of this size is fantastic and we are excited to welcome the crowds back to Abbotsford.”
Szarek was born into a storied tulip growing family, the Warmerdams, who began flower farming in the 1950s with patriarch Peter Warmerdam. His son, Szarek’s father Nick took over in the 80s and Szarek took up the mantle in the 2010s.
The Lakeland farm is actually 100 acres with 20 dedicated to sunflowers and five- to 10-acre plots of various other flowers which they hope people will visit after tulip season is over.
“Initially, our plans were to host smaller crowds to enjoy the flower fields,” says Nick Warmerdam. “After hearing how the crowds wished that Abbotsford still had a tulip festival, we decided to bring it back and planted tulips, winter canola, daffodils, blooming cover crops, hydrangea, peonies, lavender, and sunflowers.”
The kilometres of floral walking trails feature varietals imported from Holland, including fringe tulips, double tulips, and a legacy tulip named after Peter Warmerdam.
There are multiple photo ops and visitors are welcome to bring a picnic. On certain weekends, there will be live music and food trucks.
The Abbotsford Tulip Festival runs from April 14 to May 14, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Daily field reports will be provided on the Lakeland Flowers’ website and social media channels and tickets can be purchased online a week in advance of your intended visit time slot.
The Abbotsford Tulip Festival
When: April 14 - May 14, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: 3663 Marion Rd, Abbotsford, B.C.
Cost: Tickets start at $8 for weekdays