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Holland festival moves downtown

"The 32nd annual Holland Happening festival is taking a new direction this year.The weekend event scheduled for April 28-29 will begin on Saturday morning with the kickoff parade. Then the festivities will remain downtown, rather than set up at the high school as in previous years.The parade will follow a new route this year, instead of its traditional route along Pioneer Way, as vendors will be set up along the street between Ely Street and Midway Boulevard. The parade route will begin on Pioneer Way at Skagit Valley College, and then turn left to make the Bayshore loop. The route will then turn back onto Pioneer Way and conclude at Ace Hardware, said Heidi Kuzina of the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.Its the same festival, new location, said Kuzina. Time will tell what other changes come about, she said.The chamber listened to downtown merchants' concerns that potential business was drawn from them after the parade concluded, and the festivities continued at the high school, which is in a residential area, Kuzina said.Keeping the festivities downtown will bring people to our business district, not away from it, said Priscilla Heidecker, chamber executive director. We maybe lost people between the parade and the arts and crafts.The festival will include the arts and crafts fair, a quilt walk, art display and sales, wooden shoe carving demonstrations, children's activities, and food.For more information, contact the chamber at 675-3755.You can reach News-Times reporter Christine Smith at csmith@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611. "

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