Nobody Rains on Our Parade!

As I have mentioned before, it is a LONG standing tradition in my family to attend the Wednesday Tulip Time parade–officially called the Volksparade. “Volks comes from the Dutch world meaning “The common people”, so this parade is the parade of and for the common people.  Thursday is the Kinderparade–or the children’s parade, and Saturday is the Parade of Musik (the third largest parade in the Nation after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and the Rosebowl Parade).

Anyway, my family has been going to the Volksparade since I was a baby.  My Grandma Hulst, my mom, my aunties, and my cousins would all go and that orangish plaid blanket in the picture above would come along with us.  My Grandma is no longer with us, but we ALL still go with OUR kids!  The group has definitely grown over the years, and I think my Grandma smiles and laughs every year at all of us!

My mom brings the “Tulip Time Blanket” along every year along with her grand kids (Jack and Eddie) and me.

My aunt Sandy puts out all our chairs at 7:30 in the morning to save us the same spot we’ve been sitting in for about a million years.  Then around noon, all of us start to gather at the spot.  My cousin, Rachel, is always there, this year with her new baby, Brookston, and her sweet two-year old, Shayla.

As you can see…all the little ones have their own Dutch costume!  We have them made by my aunt’s friend, Sharron, who makes the authentic ones for the Tulip Time Dutch Dancers.  We are pretty proud that even though they are pint-sized, they are authentic!

My cousin, Jenise, was there with her super cute Dutch boys as well.  Brody had more reasonable footwear than the rest of them!

And little Hudson napped in his Dutch costume.  I don’t blame him!  Tulip Time is a LOT of work!

Before the parade gets started, we get to watch the Dutch Dancers.  Like I said, all their costumes are authentic.  My cousins and I all Dutch Danced when we were in high school, and a few of us did the alumni dancing for a few years afterward.  The girl with the green skirt and yellow apron in the front of this picture has the same costume I danced alumni in for four years.  All area schools have Dutch Dance groups plus the many alumni groups means LOTS of dancers on the street!

They all wear the wooden shoes–the same kind we got for Eddie to wear with his costume–only clearly bigger!  No, they are not uncomfortable because dancers were about 3-5 pairs of socks with them.  They DO fly off from time to time when dancers kick.  I shot one about 10 feet down the road once and it cracked right down the middle!  Luckily, dancers get a discount on replacement shoes!

Like I said, the dancers go ALLLL the way down 8th street!  It’s quite an impressive sight!  Tomorrow we go to watch Eddie’s aunt MacKenzie dance, so I will have more pictures then!

Tulip Time is also great for all the snacks!  Our wonderful friends, the Visels, came out the parade this year to enjoy some Dutch and snacks!  Jake and Joe really enjoyed the hot dogs in the fried buns and the fresh squeezed lemonade!

And they weren’t too shy to ask me, my mom, or Jack for tastes of our snacks too!

We are talking serious love for the carny food!

What is a parade without cotton candy?  Jack saved his for when the parade started.  Then he and Jake devoured it!

And elephant ears are just TRADITION!  If you’ve never had one, I feel sad for you!

Just before the parade starts, the town crier decrees the streets dirty, and hundreds of people decked out in their Dutch gear scrub them clean for the week’s upcoming parades!

Anyone with a Dutch costume and a broom can participate.  Shoot, I think they even provide the brooms if you need one!

The littlest street scrubbers are the most fun to watch scrub on by.  This little guy so did NOT want to leave that puddle…but what little boy would?

Once the streets were clean, the parade got underway!  The Holland Police Department lead the way!

Followed by the town crier and the Welkom “team” of city counsel men and women and other politicians.  Usually the Governor of Michigan walks, but the past couple years, she has not been able to.

There were lots and lots of floats and people in the parade.  Eddie waved at them all.  He even charmed some of the ladies on the floats with his clapping and laughing.  He really IS that charming, you know.

After what Jake told me was “hundreds of musics”, the final band was ready to march by:  The Holland High School Marching Band.  All the bands are impressive, but HHS has got to be a crowd favorite.

The “Flying Dutchmen” wear wooden shoes and crisp uniforms AND they have a kicking routine while they play “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips”!  It’s one of my favorite parts of the parade!

Their tuba players have a routine and the tuba covers spell out “DUTCH”.  It’s amazing!

Eddie had a GREAT first Volksparade!  He was very serious about checking out EVERYTHING and not missing a thing…well, except his nap!  His shoes and hat came off by the end, and we found out elephant ears may be a bit too greasy for a 10 month old tummy that has never had grease, AND the poor kid had to have a diaper changer right there in front of everyone, but overall, the day was great!

Viva Tulip Time!

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Anonymous says

    I just watched your beautiful photos of Tulip Time. You wrote that dancers sometimes crack or break their shoes. Do you have photos of that? I am from Holland Europe (the real Holland so to say but I admire what they do there in MI with our mutual heritage!) and I collect everything that has to do with our national symbol the wooden shoe. So if you have somew photos of broken, cracked or flewn off wooden shoes maybe you can mail them to me:
    Thanks a lot!!!

    Kind regards


  2. designHER Momma says

    have I told you that my mother in law just moved above the new Kilwins? Yeah, that's where you will find us.


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