Friends of the Ted Ensley Gardens and Visit Topeka are accepting applications for participation in the inaugural Tulip Time Festival at the Lake Queen fundraiser.  

In an effort to offset the cost of tulip and daffodil bulbs for the annual Tulip Time Festival, the groups seek Shawnee County residents aged 16-24 willing to fundraise for the Ted Ensley Gardens. Registration is due by Feb. 13, with the fundraising period between Feb. 14 and March 30. Reign begins April 1 and the royalty will be asked to help welcome tour groups to the gardens during Tulip Time, April 7 to 23.  

“There is a lot of community pride in the Ted Ensley Gardens and we’re hoping to highlight that with this new effort,” said Rosa Cavazos, Visit Topeka’s director of tourism development and a member of the Friends of Ted Ensley Gardens board. “Money raised by contestants will contribute to the $10,000 annual cost for tulip bulbs.”

She added: “We look forward to having Tulip Time at the Lake represented at other community events throughout the year by the Queen and court members.”

The fundraisers’ shining moment will be Sunday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as Visit Topeka and the Friends of Ted Ensley Gardens host Tulip Time Festival at the Lake. An all-you-can-eat Chris Cakes pancake feed runs 9-11 a.m. and event includes garden tours, live performances by the Topeka High Drum Line, the Kansas Youth Chorale and Beverley Bernardi Post Conservatory of Dance, a car show, food trucks, vendors and more.

Another special Tulip Time event, Tulips at Twilight, will benefit Friends of Ward Meade Park the evenings of April 7, 8, 14 and 15.

Complete rules for the Tulip Time Festival at the Lake Queen competition can be found at www.VisitTopeka.com/tuliptime. The registered candidate who raises the most money for the Friends of Ted Ensley Gardens will be named Queen and given 10 percent of the funds individually raised as an educational scholarship. Other fundraisers will be named to the court and receive 5 percent of the funds they raise as educational scholarships. The winners will represent Tulip Time Festival at the Lake in Topeka-area parades.

Money can be raised as each contestant chooses. Visit Topeka and Friends of Ted Ensley Gardens are offering the fundraising opportunity of selling tickets to the Chris Cakes breakfast on the morning of Sunday, April 9. Those interested should contact Cavazos at 785.234.1030 or Rosa@VisitTopeka.com.