Holland happens to Oak Harbor

Dressed up in their finest Dutchmen clothing, 9-year-old Jacob Hutson and his little brother Alex took to the street Saturday to hand out tulips and enjoy the sights.

For the two boys, walking in the Holland Happening parade is a sacred family tradition. Not only have they participated in the event every year, but the boys boast that their mother even walked in the parade while she was pregnant with each of them. This year, they agreed watching the horses was a highlight.

Seven-year-old Chandell Schoonover joined the Hutson boys in the event, donning a festive cap and floral-print accented dress. She said the biggest appeal of being a participant is playing the role of flower girl.

“I like giving out the tulips,” Chandell said. “My favorite part was giving one to my dad.”

As with any successful parade, most of the children involved seemed wrapped up in the music, magic and of course, sweet-snagging opportunities.

Fifth-grader Madison Harrison wore a red nose over white face paint and walked in the procession with the Clown Club from Hillcrest Elementary School.

“The best part is getting candy,” she said. “I’ve got a whole pocket full.”

Thousands of people came out to the celebration this weekend which saw plenty of spring sunshine. And though the Pioneer Way street fair saw plenty of dust and construction cones, the vendors and shoppers didn’t seem to mind.

“The gravel sucks for the stroller, but other than that it’s not too bad,” Oak Harbor resident Cassandra Lancaster said.

“We haven’t minded,” her friend Lucy Carrol added, “but if it was raining, it’d be ugly.”

Besides the islanders, some out-of-towners ventured to the event, including Holland, Mich. resident Elmer Veldheer, who has been making and selling klompen for 18 years now at Holland Happening.

His wife, Marlene Veldheer, said the festival seemed just as busy as previous years, but that she wasn’t sure what to expect with the construction.

“They warned us,” she said.

Holland Happening wrapped up Sunday evening as the carnival and street fair were dismantled and competitors raced their wooden shoes down a makeshift canal, but residents can look forward to another solid event next year.

The Whidbey Island Roller Girls skated down Pioneer Way Saturday looking for “fresh meat” shortly after Disney’s Chip and Dale made cameo appearances, and the parade emcee, Chris Skinner, announced, “Only in Oak Harbor will you see things like this.”


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