Acres of brightly colored flowers welcome spring at one of the Northwest’s favorite seasonal events, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, La Conner and the surrounding area through April.

As always, bloom dates depend on the weather and vary through the month, with different tulip varieties in bloom at different times. Some tulips are beginning to show color now, and daffodil fields throughout the area are in full bloom in what will likely be their final weekend.

The Tulip Festival updates their online bloom calendar daily with a link on the festival home page, or directly at tulipfestival.org.

The bloom map shows the location of all the tulip fields to see while driving or biking by. No parking is available at most fields. The festival’s two main venues are RoosenGaarde and Tulip Town. Both welcome visitors daily and feature large display gardens with a variety of tulips and other spring flowers in bloom throughout the month.

RoozenGaarde, named for the Roozen family whose ancestors started farming tulips in Holland in the early 1700s, is the largest flower-bulb grower in North America, with more than 1,000 acres of tulip, daffodil and iris fields in the Skagit Valley. Besides the display garden and adjacent 15-acre tulip field, there are cut tulips for sale and a chance to order bulbs for spring planting to bring a touch of the festival to your home and garden.

Tulip Town, also owned by a family with Dutch heritage, has an indoor flower show to escape April showers, along with an outdoor display garden and fields to tour by trolley car, weather permitting. There’s an on-site cafe, cut flowers, gift shop and weekend kite-flying events.

Festival activities around the Skagit Valley feature the April 12 Tulip Frolic activities and entertainment, and the Not-So-Impromptu Parade in La Conner.

Weekends tend to very busy all month, with thousands of tulip fans flocking to the area’s mostly two-lane country roads. Weekdays and before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. on weekends are usually less crowded.

Best routes on busy weekends are the Burlington/Highway 20 exit (Exit 230 from Interstate 5) or the Conway exit (Exit 221). The La Conner Visitor Center has information about the festival and visiting anytime, including brochures, maps, and information on lodging, shopping and dining.

Madeline McKenzie: mmckenzie@seattletimes.com