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Whidbey loves going Dutch

Holland Happening’s little Dutch boy contestants march in the 41st annual parade last weekend in downtown Oak Harbor. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Holland Happening’s little Dutch boy contestants march in the 41st annual parade last weekend in downtown Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

The line outside of the Lynden Dutch Bakkerij spanned an entire city block Saturday, as Oak Harbor celebrated all things Dutch last weekend.

“I definitely came for the food,” said first-time visitor Brian Solie.

The 41st annual Holland Happening event drew thousands downtown for two days of activities, a parade and tasty dishes. Steeped in Dutch tradition, the event is about sharing a culture distinctively Oak Harbor.

The Saturday morning parade was lead by the color guard and Dutch-costumed men and women wielding push brooms. Not far behind was Grand Marshal Rob Hause of Seattle.

“It’s a treat,” Hause said after the parade, who hasn’t missed a Holland Happening since 1986.

Hause said he finished the afternoon with his yearly routine: looking at the arts and crafts and watching Elmer Veldheer of Holland, Mich. carve klompen, the Dutch-style shoe. Veldheer’s shoes are made out of Poplar, with tools more than 100 years old.

Though the annual Dutch dinner was scratched this year, an event known for hutspot and erwtensoep (pea soup), visitors still got a taste of Holland at the vendor stalls. Island Drug brought back olibollen, a fried pastry, and sold out within a few hours.

After the mile-long parade march down Pioneer Way and Bayshore Drive, many families headed to the carnival for games and rides. Others, such as 15-year-old Raymond Green, admired the student art work displayed in the windows of local businesses. It was part of the annual art walk.

“I remember when I was in grade school, I would see one or two pictures I did,” he said.

A 19-year resident of Oak Harbor, Stephanie Buckley was feeling a similar nostalgia after the parade.

“I love coming here,” she said. “I remember the cash and candy being thrown as a kid.”

The weekend events also included a street fair with live entertainment and Sunday’s Klompen Race. Children created mini wooden shoes and race them down a manmade canal on Pioneer Way.

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