San Francisco hands out tulips as major retailers flee iconic Union Square location

SAN FRANCISCO — On a sunny Saturday in March, more than 40,000 people filed through San Francisco’s Union Square to get a glimpse of the 80,000 yellow, orange, and red tulips on display.

The flower garden officially opened at 1 p.m. but that didn’t stop people from getting in line hours earlier, shovels and bags in hand. The rule was that they could dig up eight tulips to keep until the flowers ran out.

San Francisco’s Tulip Day on Saturday, March 9, 2024 (Barnini Chakraborty/Washington Examiner)

By midday, the line had snaked around Union Square, a 2.6-acre public plaza in downtown San Francisco, twice. The massive space and surrounding area has historically been home to one of the largest collections of department stores, luxury boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants in America.

The free event was sponsored by the city and the Consulate General of the Netherlands to usher
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