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The beautiful sight of fresh cut tulips, cinnamon-sweet aroma of fried olibollen, klumpen click-clacking down Pioneer Way ... Today is day-one of the 41st annual Holland Happening weekend, Oak Harbor’s own Dutch heritage celebration.
Aside from fresh cut bouquets, flowers in the form of art appear all over the city. Twenty-year-old Rebekah Purser spent three days and nearly 15 hours on a giant tulip and windmill mural on the front windows of the Pioneer Way Wells Fargo Bank. Younger, budding artists’ work is on display in downtown shop windows through the weekend for the annual Harborside Art Walk.
Island Drug is behind the resurrection of olibollen at Holland Happening, said employee Kelly Lamb. The bake sale is a fundraiser for Island Drug’s Relay For Life Team and will go Saturday from 9 a.m. until close or until they’re sold out.
Oak Harbor Chamber Director Jill Johnson was overjoyed at the news. Her last memory of the fried, doughnut-like Dutch treat at the downtown Holland Happening fete was at least four years ago. She’d always enjoyed them at the First Reform Dutch Dinner as well; however, the traditional banquet was not held this year.
Today’s festivities kick off with the North Whidbey Fire and Rescue pancake feed from 7 to 11 a.m., followed by the Oak Harbor Christian School Eagle Run fun-run dash and 5k race at 8 and 8:15 a.m. Shop for Dutch treats, listen to live music and watch klompen carving at the Pioneer Way street fair from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
At 11 a.m. Rob Hause, this year’s grand marshal, will lead the Holland Happening parade along Bayshore Drive. The lineup includes dozens of community groups, service organizations, little miss Dutch maids, Dutch boys, and more. Guest of honor, Reka VanWeirgen, the oldest living graduate of Oak Harbor High School and the daughter of an original Holland Happening founder, will also appear in the parade.
Stick around after the parade for live entertainment from noon to 5 p.m.
The fun continues Sunday with the live entertainment from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., street fair, carnival and klompen canal races.