ALBANY — Albany’s iconic Tulip Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and local performers are embracing the annual tradition that honors the area’s Dutch heritage with displays of thousands of tulips in bloom, vendors, a Tulip Queen coronation, music and more.
“Everything in the park will be about the 75th anniversary,” said Keith Morales, special events coordinator for the City of Albany Office of Cultural Affairs.
The festival, which takes place over Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14, promises to have something for everyone to enjoy.
“We have a large mix of vendors,” said Morales. “About 40 plus food vendors, more than 80 craft vendors, over 15 to 20 art vendors, and about 20 to 30 public information vendors that are nonprofits and organizations promoting different causes.”
Headlining musical events on the main stage are American Authors, Eastbound Jesus,The Age, Karina Rykman, Precious Metals and Guster.
Also performing will be local musicians TV Doctors, Space Trash, Ohzhe, Frank Palangi, Caity and the Gallaghers, Glass Point, Nickopotamus, and DJ HollyW8D.
Caity Gallagher, who called the event a “fun family tradition,” said she is excited to share her music with festivalgoers.
“We always go, and the live music is always a big part of that,” she said. “To be on the other side and be a performer will be awesome.”
Gallagher’s 2022 EP, “Something Worth Remembering,” features her signature folk-Americana sound with notable pop influences. Accompanying her are bassist Ben Woodul, pianist Dan DeKalb and percussionist Josh Morris.
“There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the air,” said Gallagher, adding that her fellow musicians are also not to be missed. “This year, I’ve seen Precious Metals and The Age perform live — they’re both phenomenal bands. DJ HollyW8D is amazing.”
DJ HollyW8D, also known as More Than Music’s Mario Johnson, said he is embracing the Mother’s Day tradition of the Tulip Festival and is looking forward to “sharing the experience with my mom along with all the other moms. Tulip Fest is a big event and a big stage in all aspects. I’m looking forward to being able to shed light on the artists, celebrate it with my mom, and celebrate my debut set at Tulip Fest.”
DJ HollyW8D, has collaborated with fellow local artists Chaz Money and LYS on his debut single, “Revelation.” His More Music Less Violence concert series remains part of his initiative to uplift his audience, which is an atmosphere he is eager to bring to the Tulip Festival.
Passionate about highlighting local talent, he will bring out two surprise guests during his set.
Gallagher said she encourages Tulip Festival attendees to be open to listening to all the local acts out there.
“There’s so much talent in the original music around here — give it a try,” she said.
DJ HollyW8D agreed. “Being able to support them and staying in tune with them beyond one event is very important,” he said.
He said the Tulip Festival is very welcoming to local performers.
“I feel that the performers … put on their best show at Tulip Fest because they know the impact of having a good Tulip Fest,” he said.
In addition to the music, the festival will feature a number of activities throughout both days, including a Kids Zone Stage, with pony rides, a rock climbing wall, face painting, music, games, and more. Family friendly performances by Melvin the Magnificent, Park Playhouse, Andy “Music Man” Morse and Ruth Pelham are also scheduled.
The American Cancer Society is providing all the volunteers in the Beer Garden this year. Tips will go to the cause.
For the second year, there will be a sustainability tent that will have eco-friendly vendors that are working to promote sustainability.
“You can go down there and talk to them about ways you want to compost and anything like that,” said Morales.
This year, attendees can enjoy a wellness stage that features dance and wellness classes. Fred Astaire Dance Company, ArtPartners-Tsehaya & Company Inc., Simply Ballroom, and Sisters of the Rising Moon are providing dance classes. The Hot Yoga Spot will host free outdoor yoga on the main stage on Sunday, May 14.
A week-long celebration in honor of the festival will be held at many local bars, restaurants, and businesses in the area. A signature drink will be provided at Albany Distilling.
The 2023 Tulip Festival is sponsored by KeyBank. For more information about the Tulip Festival, the events and the activities, visit www.albany.com, www.albanyevents.org and www.albany.org.