The Volksparade (People's Parade) was first. For this one, the streets are declared in need of cleaning (in spite of the fact that the city streetsweeper machine has been going up and down the streets in preparation of the festival for days in advance). Locals dressed in Dutch costume led off this parade:
These two look a little glum, perhaps because it was hot and sunny that day. Our vantage point is near the end of the parade route, so they might have been feeling tired.
Yokes for carrying buckets of water - a taste of the Old Country ways, no doubt!
This group looks more chipper.
Now on to the parade proper:
A vintage wooden boat, sponsored by the town museum. For the past few years now, the museum has held a vintage boat show, where many of these beauties are displayed.
The coolest band in the parade, the Black River High School jazz band.
I will halt my usual blog post here to insert the fact that our daughter was recently named salutatorian of this same high school. Way to go!
But of course I must also recognize the marching band of the main school in town, Holland High. I don't know how the band members feel about it, but I always get a kick out of them marching in wooden shoes!
Yesterday was the ever-popular Kinderparade, during which K-5 students from local schools march while in Dutch costumes. Each school has a theme which is carried out in the form of various props.
I think these sunflowers correlate to Vincent Van Gogh and his famous painting.
What a cutie! She and her classmates are holding "plates" of Delft design.
A "picket fence" with flowers.
Our favorite theme by one of the schools, representing the 11 Towns Race - a speed skating race in the "real Holland". The signs name the towns along the race route.
Again, here I pay homage to the local high school. I can only imagine how much work it must be for local bands to prepare for the three festival parades - on top of the usual stuff like attending school and doing homework!
As you can see, the Kinderparade is great fun to watch, but for us, there was one negative incident associated with it:
By the way, there was still space at the end of our block where buses could have parked had the drivers not felt the need to park in front of driveways as they did (ours was not the only driveway thus blocked).
As I told the bus driver whose vehicle had blocked our driveway, it was the principle of the thing. Another bus driver rather pompously told me that they basically had permission to "park anywhere they wanted". I don't know if that's true.
Way to be classy, West Ottawa Public Schools!(not!)
Oh well, other than that, we had great weather and tulips blooming right on schedule - so all in all, these two parades were enjoyable. There's still one more parade to go - the biggest one - tomorrow.