Friday, May 8, 2015

On The Move At The Tulip Festival

Hello! There's a lot going on at the annual tulip festival and we've been busy going around town to check out the activities. But there are many people even busier than us during the festival, such as the Dutch dancers, parade marchers and people trying to break a particular world record. So let's show what these folks have been doing!

Members of the Holland High Marching Band, appearing in yesterday's Kinder Parade. Note the wooden shoes as their footwear. I really felt sorry for these kids, for they are wearing heavy band uniforms made from black fabric. Yesterday a record high of 84 was set for the date, May 7th. 

It's called the Kinder Parade due to the custom of thousands of local schoolchildren marching in the parade while wearing Dutch costumes. While some of the kids looked sweaty as well, at least their clothing was more comfortable to wear on an unseasonably hot day. 

That boy in the red shirt is likely to grow up to be a handsome young man!

Each school has a different Dutch theme for its parade appearance. This school has a Dutch foods theme, hence the boy carrying the sign mentioning rusk, a type of dry, cracker-like bread. 

Kids carrying a maypole. In previous years the kids would stop marching a bit to do a little dance around the maypole. It may have been too hot for them to feel like dancing, or else they just didn't happen to perform the routine at our section of the parade route. 

As I'd said, thousands of kids march in the parade, but they go by pretty fast. Thus, I missed the photo op of an adult in one of the school groups. The teachers typically march in Dutch costumes, just like their students do, but this guy had on a rather loud two-piece suit: medium blue with a repeat pattern of red tulips with green leaves. I called out to him, asking where he had purchased that garment. "eBay!" was his answer.

The tulip festival parades occur on a Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, but Dutch dancing in one form or another (high school, alumni or kids) happens more than once a day, and every day but the Sunday that falls during festival time. The Dutch dance schedule keeps the participants hopping in more ways than one, especially for the high school kids who have to work around AP exams and other tests. 

At this point, the above group, from Holland High, had already been dancing several times during the festival, but they still had energy to spare last night - good for them! I'll call your attention to the young man in a black costume who's in the foreground. Although people have the option of having the costumes made by approved seamstresses, a very talented sewer I know made that costume for the dancer, her son. Costumes worn for Dutch dancing have to be inspected prior to the festival, and his passed with flying colors. Good for her!

This year there was a unique Dutch dance opportunity - an event called "Klomp the Record", which was designed as a fundraiser for a local adoption agency. The "record" in this case refers to the number of people dancing while wearing wooden shoes. In order to beat the current record, held by the folks in Pella, Iowa, at least 2,605 people needed to show up in wooden shoes, ready to perform a fairly simple, five-minute dance. 

Alas, there were too many people like me, perhaps. I was too cheap to buy wooden shoes for a one-time event, but assumed there'd be more than enough others who would participate. 

But instead, last night's head count of 1,654 fell far short. Still, on a happier note, $30,000 was raised for the adoption agency.

And it did look like those participants had a good time:

Above, the dancers are gearing up for a quick rehearsal. 

The record-breaking attempt in action. (Wooden shoes were a must, but Dutch costumes were optional for this event).

Who knows? Maybe they'll try again next year. Holland, MI is a bigger community than Pella, Iowa, so you'd think the record could be set here. 

And who knows - maybe next year I'll do like that guy in the Kinder Parade did, and buy something in advance on eBay - only instead of a loud, tulip-print suit, it'll be a pair of wooden shoes! Then, I can help if another "Klomp the Record" dance is scheduled.



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