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Tulip Time!

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Last year I was in the unique position of having too much spare time and a brand-new digital camera. Took the red bike (Dutch transportation!) over to Holland twice, for the Volks Paradie and then the Musiek Paradie. ** (The latter featured a performance by a musical group comprised of chronological adults who are under the impression that Title IX was merely informational...yep, you need a certain DNA set to play music and march in a band! But I digress.)

Best parts:

--riding around looking at tulips. The most lucious beds were by the train station, esp the caboose and the sign out front, and another nice full bed was at the opposite end of town in a city park. On a byke you can wander the small side streets and enjoy the "tulip lanes." Armchair gardener sez: more bulbs! Further from the kurb! Mulch mulch mulch!

--doing self-timer shots with the tulip beds, and my tulip kostumes, clothing made from tulip-print fabrik. (My brother does us up an annual family calendar, and several of my pics were featured.)

--MarketPlaas and the interesting Dutch 'phernalia

--Wandering DT with more tulip beds and window displays (it helps to like tulips)

--As a former Detroit Thanksgiving Parade balloon wrangler, I wanted the tulip balloon folks to "SPIN IT!!"

--Field's Fabriks, practically a museum of klompen kostumes and tulip fabrik

--Caught the last part of the klompen dance at the central park.

This year I plan to drop by the perennial nursery (their beds are much more full, according to photos), and a singles' group has a meet-up at the bier tent on Windmill Island on Saturday evening.

Watch this space for photo results sometime next week!

**Something about those Dutch spellings is contagious.

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Holland's Tulip Time...

Do they still feature girls dressed as boys to partner the girl-cloggers? And if so, why?

Do they still feature housewives furiously "scrubbing" their doorsteps in an effort to out-anal each other?

And if so, why?

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As your resident Hollander...

Yes, mostly young women participate in Dutch Dance, which is a school soponsored acticity in Holland Public, Holland Christian, Zeeland, West Ottawa and Hamilton high Schools. Several young men also dance, but the girls have much more stamina, I guess! ;) Usually each school has a dozen or so young men who dance.

Many of these people participate in Alumni Dutch Dance well into their 50s and 60s. The weeks of practice and performances are a great way to shed those winter pounds.

The Street Scrubbing is a tradition from Tulip Time in the 1930s when the citizens were called out to clean the streets. Now the "Volks Parade" attracts tens of thousands of men, women and children to recreate the street scrubbing -- although they don't use cleanser as they did one year back in the 1930s. Seems "Dutch Cleanser" was a sponsor, and clouds of the acrid powder drifted throughout the downtown for hours!

Recently, Tulip Time was named by Readers Digest magazine as America's best small town festival. It sure is a lot of fun -- especially if you don't have to be anywhere on time. Traffic was really a challenge Saturday through Wednesday. The rain has really brought things to a slow simmer...

The parade on Saturday will begin on time, barring a tornado warning!

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When your major event is somewhat weather-dependent...I ran over yesterday to get my Holland fix.

On the bright side, the tulips still standing were incredibly tall (3' stems) and huge (coffee cups). Many had been pelted by the storms, and were all bowed or completely bare.


The Marketplaas had a much nicer layout; they moved the food vendors to a separate area, and the booths that benefitted from brighter lighting got it.

Item for sale that I really don't need but is wonderfully cool: wooden shoe-shaped slippers.

Oddest use of Delft china painting: 2" ceramic alligator. (If my Cajun band ever plays Tulip Time...)

Item sorely lacking from the displays: tulip earrings.

Downtown Holland is really cool. I parked at Field's and walked the length of 8th and back. Nice streetscape, interesting buildings, sidewalk pavers, flower beds, retail mix of essentials (Velo City!) and touristy art galleries-bars-capuccino joints.

One of the banks is constructing a massive new building (three stories) with a Dutch roofline; cinder blocks cut to form those distinctive triangles. Here's this active messy muddy construction site, chainlink fencing all around...and someone added window boxes of tulips to the upper windows! Too cute!

The Post Office building just does not work. And the Xmas lit-tulip shapes don't help.

Dutch-themed icon sorely missing from the overall effect: the heavy-duty upright barred basic black three-speed byke. One storefront (clothing? accessories?) used a two-wheeler in the window display, but it was a Schwinn Suburban. Maybe Velo City could reserve a space in the parade for all the antique collectors, who welcome any chance to show off their rides.

Field's has some truly lucious tulip-print fabrics, and if I needed more huge-print home or body decor I would get me some yardage. (The owner's a buddy; I suggested he get some tulip prints in parachute nylon, fleece...)

Someone said that there used to be T-shirts for sale commemmorating the "stemfest." Let's make lemonade!

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It was a truly wonderful Tulip Time -- despite the weather. Friday's international town crier competition was a hoot, the visit by Holland's sister city of Queretaro, Mexico, added a spicy flavor to all the "Dutch-ness" of the week, and Saturday's parade was wet and wild.

Downtown Holland is beautiful and, now that most of the tourists are gone, really walkable again. Come on over for a visit!

Thanks to everyone who came during Tulip Time.

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