Ten-day event in Waxahachie, Texas features 250,000 tulips to walk through and pick.
Poston Garden in Waxahachie, Texas will host a ten-day event known as Tulipalooza this month during which visitors can walk through and pick bouquets from more than 250,000 blooming tulips.
Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. March 19 – 28, 2021, the garden adjacent to the Waxahachie Civic Center consists of two acres of colorful tulips that present ample opportunities to pick your own bouquet, snap awesome selfies or just stop and smell the — well, tulips (we know, only about 15% of tulip varieties are fragrant. It’s just an expression).
Each weekend during the run, the garden will feature food trucks, car shows and live music.
Garden founder John Poston says proceeds from the event will benefit Poston Gardens Foundation scholarships along with 11 other North Texas Charities:
- Goodwill Industries of Dallas
- The Rise School of Dallas
- Minority Entrepreneurship Institute
- Best Buddies
- Touchdown Club of Dallas
- Catholic Charities Dallas
- United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
- Special Olympics Texas
- The YMCA of Dallas
Ticket buyers may choose which non-profit they want their ticket proceeds to go to.
John says this is the third year for the garden tour. The first was rained out. The second was closed early because of the arrival of a global pandemic in the U.S.. He hopes this third go around will take off without a hitch.
The garden has now moved from a field on the south end of town to the spot it now occupies adjacent to the Waxahachie Civic Center, therefore parking will be greatly improved.
For families visiting the garden during the week, he says the occasion should last a good hour and a half. With the added attractions on the weekend, a visit can last three hours easily. During its ten-day run, the garden is expected to draw as many as 30,000 visitors to the community.
How Poston Gardens began
The idea of creating a tulip garden as a fundraising venue came to John as he opened Daymark Living in Waxahachie and needed a sort of publicity stunt to get the word out about the adult living community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. Not just a day center, Daymark Living is a 24-hour operation that functions as a community for its residents and a resource for learning job skills and gaining further education.
“The whole reason behind it is to bring awareness to Daymark Living and raise money for scholarships so that low-income families that couldn’t otherwise afford to send their loved one there can afford to live there,” John says.
The cost to cover an adult living in the community that provides daily needs, classes and a place to call home is about $40,000 per person each year, and John says the scholarships cover recipients for up to three years.
His own son Michael was born 25 years ago with Down Syndrome, and as he approached adulthood, John knew Michael would need a resource for living an independent life. After learning that few communities existed in the area where Michael could live a more typical adult life with the assistance of a support staff, Poston decided to build one on his own.
“It’s really a simple idea: I want my son to be able to live like you and I get to live, and like his siblings [get to live]. It’s staffed with people to help them manage their life and live like you and I do, you know, wake up with your friends – family, go to breakfast in the dining room and then go off to work out in the community, and then come back home to activities and friends and family,” John says. “I don’t know if you know anybody with intellectual disability. But, life after high school is not so great. I didn’t want that for Michael. I didn’t want him living at home for the rest of his life. And so there’s a great need for this type of residential community.”
Today, his son lives independently at Daymark Living, attends classes, works in Waxahachie and “has more friends than me,” John says.
The Dutch tulip connection
How John came around to the idea of creating a tulip garden as a fundraiser, and not a formal dinner or golf tournament or some other typical fundraising event, has to do with the first family he met in Waxahachie when he came to town. Sooner or later, everyone who lives in Waxahachie becomes acquainted with the Tamminga family, and for John, they were his first acquaintances.
Immigrants from Holland who started a dairy operation in Waxahachie in the mid-1980s, the Tammingas brought a love for Dutch tulips with them to America and presented a strong case for creating a tulip farm in town as an attraction. After a fact-finding trip to Holland where John saw first hand what a tulip garden could do, and after a meeting with flower bulb expert and Holland-born Dallas resident Bill Van Houten, John was convinced that Waxahachie needed tulips.
Bill now oversees the Poston Gardens tulip planting, and Holland bulb farmer Thijs Van Zaal contributes his expertise; Kars Tamminga and his son Luke contribute equipment and supervise the planting crew.
“The thanks I owe these hardworking individuals is beyond measure,” John says.
Poston Gardens adds a natural attraction to Ellis County
As an event that focuses on the annual blooming of a flowering bulb, Tulipalooza has no set date each year as climate conditions affect when the show begins. Each February, the garden operators assess when the year’s blooming period will likely take place, and the dates for Tulipalooza are announced.
Like the Bluebonnet Trails in Ennis, Tulipalooza gives people from throughout the state an event to mark the arrival of spring, drive to Ellis County, get outdoors and take in something beautiful.
And just as the tulips drop their flower, that’s when Ennis’ bluebonnets should start to bloom along 40 miles of trails that visitors can drive along, with several locations where they can stop in, walk among the wildflowers and take the inevitable sitting-in-the-bluebonnets photo. In fact, Ennis’ Bluebonnet Fest takes place about one month after Tulipalooza. The trails and the fest draw tens of thousands of visitors to the area also.
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