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The Small Town Charm of Pella, Iowa


The Small Town Charm of Pella, Iowa

Located about forty miles southeast of Des Moines sits the picturesque town of Pella, Iowa. Founded initially by Netherland immigrants in the 1850s, Pella translates to “City of Refuge” in Dutch. Today, a growing population of 10,500 continues to celebrate their Dutch heritage.

There is a lot of charm to be found in Pella, but their most significant claim to fame? Tulip Time: The Annual Pella Iowa Tulip Festival. 



The Pella Iowa Tulip Festival

Tulip Time began way back in 1935. Following a performance of an operetta called “Tulip Time in Pella,” the town came together to create this beloved festival to celebrate its Dutch heritage. Traditional Dutch music, dancing, food, and - of course - tulips turn this town into a hemel for three whole days. 

What once started with merely 125 four-foot-tall wooden tulips has blossomed into really special. Over 300,000 blooming tulips, two daily parades, Grandstand shows, and plenty of stroopwafels create a wondrous (and delicious) time for the whole family. 

You can catch the 2022 Pella Iowa Tulip Festival on May 5th, 6th, and 7th. The event is free, but there are admission-based festivities and museums you’ll probably want to add to your itinerary. 

Learn more about the Pella Iowa Tulip Festival

The Vermeer Mill 

While you’re taking in the sites in Pella, take an afternoon to visit The Vermeer Mill. Initially constructed in Holland, it currently stands as the tallest working windmill in North America at 124.5 feet. 

Not only is this windmill a reminder of the proud Dutch heritage that permeates Pella’s culture, but it’s also a functional asset to the town! Windpower grounds wheat into flour that is then used by the local bakeries. 

The upstairs of the historic feature offers detailed museum displays and Dutch windmill models to explore. Keep climbing all the way up to the fifth floor, and you can experience an absolutely breathtaking view of the town. 

Setting a Guinness World Record

During the 2010 Tulip Time Festival, Pella Iowa crushed a Guinness World Record for - wait for it - The Most People Dancing in Wooden Shoes. That’s right, 2,605 people danced for over six minutes, using thick socks and sponges to help their feet clog to traditional Dutch music. To this day, their record hasn’t been beaten (although not for lack of trying). 

Now, is that the most Dutch thing you’ve ever heard or what? 

This Spring, Pella is the Place to Be

If you’re looking for Pella Iowa hotels, look no further! After a day of adventuring in Pella, rest your head at the GrandStay Pella Iowa Hotel. We are mere minutes from the historic downtown so that you won’t miss a minute of fun. 

And with our heated indoor pool & whirlpool and complimentary Grand Start® Breakfast, we have everything you need so you can get some well-deserved relaxation before heading out for more small-town sites! 

Book your next stay. Our GrandStay Team cannot wait to welcome you to this one-of-a-kind town.


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