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Holland Happening returns to Oak Harbor

Broad View Elementary School’s flag team practices their routine on the playground last week. The group will perform two numbers during the Holland Happening parade on Saturday. - Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times
Broad View Elementary School’s flag team practices their routine on the playground last week. The group will perform two numbers during the Holland Happening parade on Saturday.
— image credit: Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times

With their handmade tye-dye shirts and flashy blue and green flags, it’ll be hard to miss Broad View Elementary students as they march down Bayshore Drive in the Holland Happening parade Saturday morning, April 30.

Oak Harbor’s annual Holland Happening starts this weekend. The three-day event celebrates residents’ Dutch heritage through performances, carnivals, street fairs and other activities.

Broad View’s flag team has been together for just over two months. The program started as one of the elementary’s after-school enrichment programs, but after the session was up, music teacher Renee Hall decided to keep the club going so the students could perform in the parade.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a flag team before in Oak Harbor,” Hall said. Hall participated on flag teams when she was in high school and college and said the students are practicing stunts on those levels.

On Saturday, the students will wave their flags to both African and Irish songs. Last week on the playground, the group worked on coordinating their routines while marching and did their best to endure Oak Harbor’s unpredictable weather.

“We may have wind during the parade,” Hall told the students as their flags involuntary whipped around above their heads. “It’s not perfect like practicing in the gym, that’s just reality.”

But despite the possibility of unruly weather, the students are thrilled about getting a turn in the spotlight.

“I’ve been to the carnival before, and it was really fun, so I’m excited to actually be part of Holland Happening,” fourth-grader Natalie Hahn said.

Fifth-grader Heather Smith said she’s simply looking forward to marching in the procession wearing shoes.

“I marched in the parade before with my taekwondo team in bare feet,” she said. “It was not fun.”

Additionally, each of Oak Harbor’s five elementary schools will have their art showcased in the windows of downtown businesses throughout the weekend’s festivities.

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