April showers bring May flower festivals, but the Canadian Tulip Festival is ready for the rain this year.
After poor weather dampened festivities in previous years, festival organizers focused on weatherproofing programming this year.
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“There is literally a sea of blue and white tents in Major’s Hill Park,” said festival spokesman Doug Little.
Many of the tents are set up for the 25-country International Pavilion, which runs the length of the festival from May 2 to May 19.
The main attraction for Major’s Hill Park will be the Mirror Tent, which was brought over from Belgium.
“When people see it, their jaws just drop right open,” said Little.
Mirror Tent programming includes a cabaret and the festival’s speaker series, Celebridee.
“We just wanted to have really interesting content, so people could come into the tent, have something to eat and hear somebody really fascinating,” said program director Julian Armour.
“These are evenings people will be talking about for weeks and months to come — maybe for the rest of their lives.”
While featured speaker novelist Sir Salman Rushdie makes his first Ottawa appearance on May 6, other notable names for the series include author Amy Chua and psychologist Dan Barker.
Improv comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood will put on a show, as will Air Farce’s Jessica Holmes.
But as always, the stars of the festival will be the three million tulips that have been planted along the Rideau Canal, on Parliament Hill and in Major’s Hill Park.
NCC spokeswoman Kathryn Keyes said the tulips are right on schedule and the majority of them are expected to be in bloom by the end of this week.