Tulip Time Turns Profit

August 15, 2005
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HOLLAND — Though red tulips are lovely, Tulip Time officials are happy to be in the black for the third year in a row.

The Tulip Time Festival gained a net profit of $137,707 this year, down slightly from last year’s $139,645, but still in line with the organization’s five-year plan to grow a fund balance by 2007.

“Like any organization, profit or nonprofit, we feel it’s just a good business plan to have that reserve set aside, and that’s what we’re working toward and continue to grow,” said Tulip Time Festival Director Tamra Bouman.

Now that the festival has been debt free for a year, following three years in 2000, 2001 and 2002 when the event lost money, organizers are working on the future of the festival, looking ahead several years as the board shifts from a tactical and operational board to a policy-making entity.

“We have established advisory committees that will be doing much of the tactical and operation aspect of the festival,” she said. “It’s important for our governing board to establish direction.”

The board is changing its membership as well, with a one-year term for the chairman instead of two years. All board members will have three-year terms and be restricted to serving only two terms. Bouman said it is important to include new representation in various industries. This year’s board will have five new members, with experience in areas such as the Downtown Development Authority, the corporate community and banking and financial community.

Lyle Ahrenholz, the incoming chairman of the board, said some of the new board members are younger and may have a different perspective.

“We’re being a little bit deliberate about that,” he said.

Bouman said this is a good time for the festival, with a strong board and staff and a vibrant community.

“We’re in a position where we can go forward very confidently,” she said.

Ahrenholz, who has been involved with the festival for 20 years, said he agrees it’s time to make some changes and look to the future.

“I’m very much supportive of the new vision,” he said. “To keep the festival vibrant, you need to change and do some new things. As we get farther and farther from our roots, we still want to continue to celebrate our Dutch heritage, but still celebrate the community.”

With the staff and advisory committees taking care of the day-to-day operations of the festival, Ahrenholz said the board will be able to concentrate on the event’s future.

“As our community changes, we need to be looking ahead a little further than just next festival,” he said.

Some of the goals for the board are to get more community involvement and input, keep the board fresh with term limits and examine the programs for all ages.

“That’s some of the things that our board will be talking about this year,” he said.

Bouman said the board also is planning to expand the festival’s musical events to include a larger variety of styles.

“The focus we have right now — and certainly our interest — is to grow our musical offerings where we can, and certainly grow the variety,” she said.

Though Bouman said they are limited by the Holland venues, she is hoping to use HopeCollege’s new DeVos Fieldhouse to help bring the festival to the next level of musical acts.

“We’re very excited about that possibility and opportunity,” she said.

Ahrenholz agreed, saying expanding the music events will help bring more people to the festival.

“We need to have a wider variety of music groups to appeal to a wide variety of ages,” he said.

For more information on the festival, visit www.tuliptime.com.   

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