Sound Off: Holland Happening name is a cherished tradition

  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 1:22pm
  • Opinion

By Autumn Sundown

During 2019, Oak Harbor’s iconic and beloved Holland Happening Festival celebrated its 50th year. This event is firmly rooted in cherished childhood memories for those who grew up here. It has also been an annual event for those wishing to come and enjoy what our city has to offer each year.

Over the past several years, our city saw a handful of events that changed the way home looks and feels for many who have grown up here. New faces bring new ideas, time demands progress and many community members are left feeling voiceless and saddened to see that home doesn’t resemble itself any longer. Many mourn the loss of the Oak Harbor Post Office Garry oak tree, City Beach name and our iconic windmill.

Social media recently lit up when it was announced the Holland Happening event was re-branded “Spring Festival.” Many people expressed shock, sadness and anger — that about sums up the comments.

People in the community who came to cherish this event, sponsored each year by the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, expressed concern about losing another piece of what makes Oak Harbor home. To have another childhood memory dissolve away as if it is of no consequence to those holding the decision-making power created backlash.

In writing this letter and starting a petition, I hope to give members of the Oak Harbor community an opportunity to express their opinion and demonstrate to the chamber’s governing board what this event means to this town. We are petitioning that you hear our voices and understand, that this beloved annual event has come to be a part of the fabric of who we are, and we are asking you to reconsider your decision to change the name.

As the chamber of commerce, we, your clients, the consumers who frequent your businesses, and your neighbors, are asking you to hear us. Join us in our community pride and allow us to continue to celebrate one of our town traditions.

I would just like to remind everyone that we do not need to erase who we are and where we come from to ably embrace who we shall become and where the future leads.

• Autumn Sundown is a resident of Oak Harbor.

More in Opinion

Rockin’ A Hard Place | The Rock got great help to take care of itself when needed most

We Rock dwellers enjoy the distance we have from America. It takes… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Letters to schools misguided but should spur reflection

Both the Oak Harbor and the South Whidbey School districts were recently… Continue reading

Melanie Bacon is and Island County Commissioner.
Sound Off: Until all are vaccinated, remain vigilant, patient

Every day I receive heartbreaking emails and phone calls from citizens who… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Offer of towering artwork should not be squandered

Oak Harbor has a once-in-a-lifetime shot at getting a bold, superlative and… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Regional reopening plan doesn’t work for Island County

It’s ridiculous that people can’t eat inside restaurants in Island County, which… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Passage of school levy is imperative, even during a pandemic

Voters who live in North Whidbey will decide whether to return to… Continue reading

Sound Off: Much of school district’s excellence due to levy ‘yes’ vote

Four years ago, North Whidbey voters approved a maintenance and operations levy… Continue reading

Sound Off: County needs to respond, in public, in detail

This newspaper published an editorial on Dec. 29, “Public Health nurse exodus… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Oak Harbor pro-Trump rally during Capitol siege poorly timed

An angry and violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters were still… Continue reading

Arny, Matt
Sound Off: Navy committed to environmental stewardship

Numerous area media outlets, including The Seattle Times, have published stories citing… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Public Health nurse exodus is cause for reckoning

It’s not unusual for the state Department of Health to assist a… Continue reading

My wish list to Santa Claus after a very hard Rock year

Dear Santa, This has been a Hard Rock year on Whidbey Island,… Continue reading