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California Grower Gives Out 100,000 Tulips.

Sean MurphyComment

All around Union Square in downtown San Francisco last Saturday there were smiles, tears — even a marriage proposal — and there were thousands and thousands of bright, beautiful tulips, free for the taking.

In honor of “American Tulip Day,” the Sun Valley Group in Arcata, California, collaborated with Dutch partners Anthos and iBulb to hand out 100,000 tulips to surprised (and delighted) residents and tourists. The giveaway, modeled after similar efforts in The Netherlands, was intended to promote tulips in the United States. Bill Prescott, Sun Valley’s marketing and communications specialist, said set-up took about five hours — and then the tens of thousands of flowers were scooped up by some 5,000 visitors in less than three hours.

“The thing that has stayed with me from the day was just the appreciation and joy in people’s faces,” Prescott said. “People were tearing up, kids were in awe — some of the tulips were taller than they were. So much of our job is about the business side, so it was wonderful for all of us just to see people feeling so much joy around our flowers.”