ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The 81st Orange City Tulip Festival is both nationally and internationally renowned. But preparations for this years rendition started even before last year’s Tulip Festival kicked off.

“We always say it’s a year-long process to plan for next year’s festival,” Tulip Festival Co-Chair Jenon Scallon said.

The 81st Orange City Tulip Festival takes a village to prepare.

“Hundreds of volunteers in the community get involved and work year round to make these three days possible,” Scallon said.

One of those volunteers is Lauren McDonald.

“I would say for me, kind of being with the queens committee, we start in the end of September when the girls are elected onto the tulip court, so that’s when my work kind of started,” Lauren McDonald said.

McDonald also volunteers her time as a traditional Dutch dancer, taking part in the daily ‘Straat Feest’.

“So my parents actually teach the adult Dutch dancing, so every Monday, I’m trying to think, maybe the second week in April we start and there’s practices downtown,” McDonald said.

Hundreds of folks are also needed to prepare the stars of the festival; the tulips.

“Tulips are planted in the fall and we plant about 80 to 100 thousand tulips around town, and this year we’re really excited too. People really got excited about being involved in that,” Scallon said.

And this year, tulip fans will enjoy the new educational offering.

“We’re talking more about tulips and just sharing more information with our guests about tulips, the history of tulips, what they mean to Orange City, and just the involvement of thousands of tulips being grown here,” Scallon said.