Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

We've survived our first week in NY! Brett's job is going well, the boxes are slowly getting unpacked and so far, we are making it alright. Not ones to be wallflowers, we spent our first 'real' weekend stopping and smelling the flowers...and boy, they were beautiful!

It was the 62nd year for the Albany Tulip Festival at Washington Park. (Brett proposed by a huge bed of tulips at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, so the flowers hold a special meaning for us!) Apparently thousands of others wanted to see the tulips too, so we had to park about a mile away from Washington Park. Not a problem, except the sky was a little cloudy...oh, and there was thunder too. But wise Brett said, "No silly Heather, you don't need to bring an umbrella, we'll be fine." Not 10 minutes later, the Garretts found themselves huddling under a pine tree in the middle of a hail storm with a bunch of pot smoking hippies. Thankfully, it didn't take long for the storm to move through, the skies to clear and the adventure to resume.

The Tulip Fest features more than 140 different types of tulips and there were more than 200,000 blooms! Pictures don't do it justice. The flowers were absolutely gorgeous! Every type of tulip you could imagine and then some. Families, photographers and tourists like us were lined up to get a closer look at all the variates. Did you know that the city of Albany is the oldest Dutch settlement in America? Tulip Fest kicks off with the tradition of girls in authentic Dutch costumes (right down to the wooden shoes) cleaning the streets, apparently this was something the Dutch did before special occasions. The festival also boasts some of the best ethnic food vendors in upstate New York, so while Heather was running around with the camera photographing all the tulips, Brett's mouth was watering for some fried dough!

But it's not just the flowers and foods on a stick that are the draw for Tulip Fest. Musical performances bring in all the local college student, along with the fact that you can bring in your own coolers full of...whatever you please. All those drunk people in all that mud was a Tide commercial waiting to happen. We did get to hear OK Go! perform, but weren't really close enough to tell if they were on treadmills. Probably the most exciting part of the day was watching two people get arrested. Unfortunately, the Albany Mounted Police Department didn't lasso or hogtie them...just the standard handcuffs. But we are nearly certain we heard "Bad Boys" playing somewhere in the background.

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