Events Manager Vicki Graham holds an oversized pair of Dutch wooden shoes. In the background are Holland Happening- related items lent for display by the community.
                                (Photo by Maria Matson)

Events Manager Vicki Graham holds an oversized pair of Dutch wooden shoes. In the background are Holland Happening- related items lent for display by the community. (Photo by Maria Matson)

Holland Happening 50th celebration starts Thursday

Parade, carnival and food will fill the weekend

Fifty years will be celebrated over four days during Holland Happening .

The annual event celebrates Oak Harbor’s Dutch roots this weekend with festivities including a grand parade, carnival, street fair, food and music, Klompen canal races and more.

“Fifty years only comes around once,” said Events Manager Vicki Graham.

Graham said she knew that, this year, they had to “go big.”

Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is marking the anniversary with commemorative coins, T-shirts and candy bars with this year’s Holland Happening logo. They’ve also added more Klompen shoe races this year due to the popularity of the tradition in which wooden clogs float over a waterfall.

Winners include the ones first and last over the waterfall, Graham said.

Don’t forget to acquire wooden shoes at the Chamber beforehand.

This year, more than 100 entries are already enrolled in the parade, and more are expected Graham said.

There are 78 vendors providing a “smorgasbord” of items such as international food, ice cream, jewelry, crafts and more. The parade will have a float contest as well as a “best in show” winner.

Tickets for the carnival are on sale at the Oak Harbor Chamber.

The busy tradition takes over 200 volunteers along with the staff of four at the chamber to pull off, Graham said, and they’re thankful for their sponsors who make the event financially feasible.

The community has taken note of the significance of this year’s Holland Happening and has sent in a variety of items, according to Graham and Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Director Christine Cribb.

“The community has sent us old photos, posters, memorabilia and newspaper clippings of past years, and we have all enjoyed listening to the stories. We have a beautiful historic display in the chamber lobby created by Debbie Skinner,” Christine Cribb said in an email.

The display is open for public viewing during the chamber’s operating hours.

One community member who will be missed this year in particular, is Jan Ellis, who helped launch Holland Happening and died last year.

“I wish our dear friend Jan Ellis lived long enough to see all this excitement of celebrating 50 years,” Cribb said. “She was there year one.”

“It’s a labor of love. It’s a way of giving back to the community,” Graham said.

“Just come out and have a ball. We just greatly appreciate all the support we get from the community and the business community.”

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

  • Thursday: Davis Amusement Carnival begins at 4 p.m., and artwork from local elementary students will be displayed in store windows 5-7 p.m.
  • Friday: student artwork will be displayed all day, and the carni- val begins at 3 p.m.
  • Saturday: student artwork will be displayed all day. International Street Fair will go 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and live music at Hal Ramaley Park also starts at 10 a.m. The Grand Parade and carnival start at 11 a.m. and the Rotary Walk of Honor Car Show is at 1 p.m. The Klompen Canal Races are 2, 4 and 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: student artwork displayed all day. International Street Fair is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The carnival starts at noon. The three Klompen Canal Races are 12, 2 and 4 p.m.
Events Manager Vicki Graham shows off this year’s t-shirt designs.
                                (Photo by Maria Matson)

Events Manager Vicki Graham shows off this year’s t-shirt designs. (Photo by Maria Matson)

Commemorative coins will be sold, marking the festival’s 50th year. They are available for purchase at the Chamber for $10 while supplies last.
                                Photo provided.

Commemorative coins will be sold, marking the festival’s 50th year. They are available for purchase at the Chamber for $10 while supplies last. Photo provided.

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