Inside Oregon's Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival | © Barb Iverson / Courtesy of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
Photo of Katrina Nattress
10 April 2018

Oregon’s springtime is emphasized by its unique array of seasonal festivals. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is only one of the must-know events in the state.

Sure, the rain is still pretty much constant, but when the trees start to fill out and the flowers start to bloom, all of a sudden the precipitation isn’t so bad.

To locals, the beginning of spring is signified by the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival: a 40-acre field of blossomed tulips that spans further than the eye and epitomizes springtime for Oregonians. After years of unsuccessful tulip bulb retail business, in 1985, the Iverson family decided to open up its 15-acre field in Woodburn to the public on Easter weekend. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive turnout, the Iversons knew they were on to something.

In the following decades, the farm, the field, and the festival have all grown tremendously. Wooden Shoe now boasts acres of those vibrant tulips in every color of the rainbow.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival has been an Oregon spring staple since the 1980s | © Barb Iverson / Courtesy of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

“The festival is extremely rewarding as a farmer,” owner Barb Iverson admitted. “To be able to offer an experience that is difficult to replicate anywhere else, to see the memories created by friends and families, and to meet people on our farm from all over the United States and the world is humbling to say the least.”

For a small admittance fee, visitors are able to walk the tulip fields and access the Wooden Shoe Garden and children’s play area. For photographers, there’s special “sunrise” packages available that offer early access to capture the serene setting in spectacular light.

The tulip fields at sunrise | © Barb Iverson / Courtesy of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Aside from the colorful tulips, Woodburn and its surrounding areas are home to some other unique Oregon crops.

“Our area of Oregon also grows a lot of hazelnuts, hops, nursery stock, and berries. It’s good for people to get out in the country to see the diversity of crops we can grow,” Iverson explained. “Beyond our great climate and rich soils, we also involve the local community, such as Marquam Hills Alpaca Ranch, TMK Creamery or even endives from a local farm.”

“We are also able to direct our visitors to other iconic places in Oregon, including Silver Creek Falls, Mt. Hood, and even the lesser known places like the Mt. Angel Abbey, Silverton Murals, or Gallon House Covered Bridge,” she added.

Hot air balloons rising above the tulips | © Barb Iverson / Courtesy of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

As the years pass, Wooden Shoe strives to continue its evolution. “We now have a vineyard and our own wines, a garden for events and weddings, and our newest venture is growing and processing industrial hemp and offering CBD products as Red Barn Hemp,” Iverson said.

“We are excited about the next generation eventually taking over and running the farm and festival for years to come.”

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival runs March 23-April 30, 2018.