Sun smiles on Holland Happening

With many activities to keep spectators busy, the annual Holland Happening festival last weekend offered plenty of spring sunshine and cultural diversity for all to see.

Islanders and folks from the mainland came out early Saturday morning to line up along the parade route and claim their spot. Vendors from the street fair began preparing for the massive crowd of event-goers.

Shop owners along Pioneer Way opened up bright and early. People were able to get a cup of coffee from Big Cup Coffee or admire the quilt works being displayed in stores along Pioneer Way.

The parade began rolling promptly at 11 a.m. Craig Vanderstoop led the way as the traditional town crier, informing spectators of events to follow. The islandÂ’s finest from the Oak Harbor Fire Department, Oak Harbor Police Department, and the Island County rural fire departments patrolled the parade route while riding in the parade.

Many Dutch traditions were on display throughout the parade. Nigell Hutson and her son Jacob were members of the traditional street sweepers group. They were wearing basic Dutch fashions along with other members of the group. Brenda Nydam and Astrea Goodin were also in the parade wearing old-fashioned Dutch bonnets and full-length dresses.

Many not-so-Dutch related groups presented themselves for the parade crown and city dignitaries. WoodwardÂ’s Tae Kwon Do Academy put on a display of techniques and moves that proved to be intriguing to watch. Even the Crab Queens agreed as they gave them a perfect score across the board. Parade events are not complete without a marching band and this parade had several. Bands from Lynden, Burlington-Edison, Oak Harbor High, Coupeville High School, and several other schools in the area played on for the crowds.

The 2004 Holland Happening was judged a success.

"We feel like the weekends events were a success. The weather made a big difference. I heard great comments about the parade also," said Priscilla Heistad, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

Other events over the weekend included the lawnmower races on Fakkema Road, he Dutch fashion show, and the Klompen canal races.

The fashion show on Sunday was enlightening to those who were not familiar with Dutch wear. Traditional fisherman, maiden, and marital attire were on display during the fashion show. The Dutch Santa Claus presented himself in a classic priest-like robe with fishing boats. Winners from the first canal race were first, Tia St. Pierre; 35th, Sally Stavig; and 50th, Rebecca Knight. Winners from the second canal race were first, Dale Lowry; 35th, Savannah Heidecker; and 50th, Taylor Tibbits. Best Decorated Klompen was awarded to Ronna Watt.

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