Trampled Tulips Mark Drunken End To Tulip Fest
By Scott Salad
Published May 8th, 2016
ALBANY— Thousands of intoxicated twenty-somethings left a path of flattened tulips in their wake Saturday evening as they staggered out of Washington Park, signifying the end to another successful Tulip Festival.
Moments after headliner's Langhorne Slim & the Law left the stage to raucous applause, police began the arduous task of redirecting the boozy crowd away from the park's renowned tulip beds.
“No matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to get these idiots to stay on the designated walkways,” said Sgt. Jim Backus with the Albany Police Department. “In my book, drunk hipsters equal dead tulips.”
In recent years, the trails of mashed flowers have become as much a part of Albany's signature spring event as the street scrubbing of State Street and the coronation of the city's Tulip Queen.
“Tulip Festival is a celebration of Albany's official flower,” said Marion Ross, director of Albany's Special Events and Cultural Affairs Department. “From the day they spring forth and bloom into rich, majestic displays of color, until the moment they're crushed beneath the heels of an inebriated millennial’s Birkenstocks.”
After vomiting on a patch of “Orange Wonders” — Albany's official flower as designated by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in 1948 — self-described bohemian Peter Wellness of Averill Park agreed.
“It's become a tradition,” the 23-year-old said as he wiped bile from his old-timey beard. “Me and my buds come out for the music, get loaded and trample flowers. It's our thing.”
After blathering on about his “insane vinyl collection,” the bicycle repairman eventually hooked his thumbs under his suspenders, exclaimed “til next time” and began lurching towards Lark Street.
“These flowers are a lot like me,” slurred Posey Parker, a 21-year-old University t Albany student who was slumped between two parked cars on Willett Street scraping residue off her sandals. “You grow up and then something happens, and all of a sudden you're stuck under someone's stinky foot. Fucking squashed, like these goddamn daffodils!”
Upon being told the variety of flower embedded in the tread of her sandal was actually a Buttercream Double-Bloom Tulip, the coffee bar barista and part-time folk singer threw her shoe into oncoming traffic and mumbled, “Whatevs.”
From The Albany Smudge Traffic Copter, arcs of intense color could be seen spreading from the heart of Washington Park in all directions, and by Saturday night it was clear the city's cleanup crews had their work cut out for them.
“Do you know how hard it is to get puréed tulip out of asphalt?” asked Butch Vig, an employee with the Department of Public Works. “Tulip Festival blows.”