Orange City, Iowa – It’s almost time to celebrate the Dutch again.
The 74th annual Orange City Tulip Festival, May 15, 16 and 17, will feature a theme of “A Dutch Welkom.” Many old favorite activities remain, some with new twists, and there are changes to be aware of as well.
The event is designed to be a celebration of Orange City’s rich Dutch heritage. Festivities include music and dancing by children and adults in intricate authentic costumes, two daily parades featuring top area marching bands, nightly musical theatre, a carnival midway and Dutch delicacies, plus thousands of tulips and a dozen replica windmills.
This year’s night show, Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” will be presented in Unity Christian High School’s new Knight Center May 14-17, beginning nightly at 8.
Because the production is on the west side of Orange City, about eight blocks from downtown where most of the other Tulip Festival activities take place, the evening parade will begin a half-hour earlier than in previous years, at 6 p.m. Also, a shuttle service at $3 per person will be available for those who want to park their cars at Unity Christian earlier in the day and get a ride downtown and back.
The shuttle service is one of the items included in the $15 Value Booklet, which also contains tickets for the Dutch Dozen song and dance review, the quilt show at the Prairie Winds Event Center, the flower show at the Sioux County Heritage Center and the Century Home. The booklet also includes tickets for horse-drawn trolley rides, a pedi-cab ride and a Dutch game.
Reserved seating is recommended for the afternoon Straatfeest and Volksparade. Tickets are $4 apiece. A reduced number of non-reserved bleacher seats will be available due to safety concerns, so bring your lawn chairs if you don’t purchase reserved seating.
Tulip Queen Ali Achterhof and Court members Lauren Duesenberg, Emily McDonald, Paige Nibbelink and Marissa Wiese will wear the authentic dress from Axel, a town in the province of Zeeland, for this year’s Tulip Festival. A free meet-and-greet time with the Tulip Court will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday in the open air space next to the new Ben Franklin store on Central Avenue, just east of Windmill Park.