Tulip Day 2024: festival brings hope for San Francisco Union Square's economic recovery

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, March 10, 2024
Tulip Day 2024 brings hope for SF Union Square's economic recovery
Thousands of people lined up around Union Square Saturday for a chance to pick colorful Tulips for Tulip Day.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Flower power in San Francisco. Thousands of people lined up around Union Square Saturday for a chance to pick colorful Tulips. City officials hope the Tulip Day celebration could help the struggling shopping district blossom again.

The beauty was a jaw-dropping rainbow of 80,000 tulips stretching across Union Square, free for the picking.

Becky Cortez came from LA and stood in line five hours to celebrate Tulip Day to take home eight stems.

"Just to be one of the first people in line to be able to pick the flowers, like the best quality flowers before the sun starts to get here," said Cortez.

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Thousands of people lined up and that line was epic, stretching around Union Square.

It's really crazy to see all these flowers, people coming together so I wanted to be a part of it," said Alyssa House from San Francisco.

The event started in 2018, blooming from a relationship between San Francisco and the Netherlands inspired by tulip festivals in Amsterdam.

But this year, it's about more than pretty flowers.

This shows us, Union Square is forever," said Union Square Alliance CEO, Marissa Rodriguez.

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Rodriguez says the blooms offer some brightness, over dark headlines of retail departures in the square. Macy's, The North Face and Zara recently announcing plans to close.

"If you're sad when there's an announcement a business you love is leaving, think about the last time you came down and supported them," said Rodriguez.

"Events like this activate the space, drawing people into Union Square," said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

Jenkins believes the square is safe for visitors with police officers providing high visibility.

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"Union Square is a place that's safe, we are investing law enforcement resources so when people come here, they're not worried about safety," said Jenkins.

"It's sad to hear news of the city's financial situation but coming here and seeing the flowers makes people feel better for a little bit," said Alyssa House from San Francisco.

Many lifelong residents know Union Square's comeback will take time. For now, flowers are blooming.

"All things change. eventually good things will come and San Francisco will blossom and grow," said Sebastian Lowe from San Francisco.

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