Known as The Heart of the Fens, Spalding has long been famous as a centre of the bulb industry.
The annual Spalding Tulip Parade took place on the first Saturday in May, from 1959 through to 2013
Its procession of floats on various themes each decorated with tulip petals, a by-product of the bulb industry, would wind it’s way through the town. In years when the tulips were late, daffodils or hyacinths were sometimes used in their place. If the tulips were early, crepe paper was substituted.
The flower industry has become less important since the early 21st century. The bands of brightly coloured tulip fields in bloom in spring that covered the Fenland have decreased markedly.
At its peak, the Spalding Flower Parade attracted more than 100,000 visitors, but by 2012, fewer than 40,000 attended. That year the Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council announced they would not fund the parade beyond 2013.
The last ever Spalding Flower Parade took place on Saturday 4th May 2013.
At the time of writing there are no plans to revive the Spalding Flower Parade or the Tulipmania Spring flower festival held at Springfields Gardens.
The Spalding Flower Parade.
The origins of the world-famous Spalding Flower Parade stretch right back to the 1920’s and 1930’s.
The Jubilee in 1935 of King George V and Queen Mary coincided with the time the tulips were in flower.
In 1948, the Growers’ Association became involved in organising a Tulip Week. A 25-mile tour through villages and country lanes was planned to show the best fields.
By 1950, Tulip Week had become Tulip Time and was developed in conjunction with the Spalding Urban District Council over three designated weekends.
To ensure that there would always be tulips on display, even if they might not be in the fields, from the many millions of tulip flower heads removed, it was decided to keep some available for decorative purposes.
In 1959, the first Spalding Tulip Parade took place. Within a few years this Parade was to become world famous as The Spalding Flower Parade, and even more popular than the tulip fields themselves.