Orange City, Iowa — This coming weekend is the weekend that — Dutch or not — many from northwest Iowa and beyond head to Orange City to pay them a visit — or “breng ze een bezoek,” as they say.
Orange City has been putting on the festival basically every year since 1936, with timeouts for World War II and COVID-19.
Organizers of the festival want us to know that along with traditional favorite activities, they have some new things planned as well.
One new thing this year is the Tulip Talk in Windmill Park, where you can learn more about tulips from local flower experts. The history of the tulip will be discussed as well as the reasons why the flower is so important to the world—and to Orange City. The Tulip Talk is located in Windmill Park in the white tent, and will be available daily at the festival at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 4:00 p.m.
The Dutch Dozen — high school Dutch dancers — will be wearing new, authentic Dutch costumes and their show will feature new props and backdrops this year.
The annex at the Dutch-American Heritage Museum went through a complete remodel recently and will house all-new military exhibits. And it will open for the first time during this year’s Tulip Festival.
The annual Tulip Festival Road Race will feature a new route this year. Organizers say you’ll be sure to finish strong down Central Ave with beautiful tulips guiding your way. Register for the run online.
The Second Tour de Tulips Bicycle Ride will take place this year. It’s a 21-mile (round-trip) ride to the Sioux County Regional Airport for the Fly-in Breakfast. An optional longer 35-mile (round-trip) route to Ireton is also an option this year.
There will be a few new food options at this year’s Straatmarkt.
The Night Show this year is at the town hall, and will be the musical, “MAMMA MIA!”
In addition to buying tickets at the Windmill Information Booth, the Town Hall Information Booth will also sell tickets this year.
There’s also a new Downtown Map, which is available at the Windmill Information Booth or the Town Hall Information Booth.
Of course the twice-daily Volksparade will feature many updated floats, and organizers say they are excited to feature a new float from Sekisui Aerospace. Pella Corporation will also have their float in the parades this year. And if you missed seeing the beautiful First Kiss float last year, you can see it this year.
After a one-year change of venue, Poffertjes are back in the Little White Store east of Windmill Park downtown. They are like miniature puffy pancakes topped with a rum butter sauce and powdered sugar and are a Dutch treat.
The Antique Model Tractor Display is back this year at First Christian Reformed Church by the Antique Tractor Show.
Crowd-favorite events including street scrubbing, horse-drawn trolley tours, Vogel Old Mill tours, ArtBurst, wooden shoe carving demonstrations, and more will also be back this year.
Again, the Tulip Festival is this Thursday, May 19th, through this Saturday, May 21st in Orange City.
For more information, visit www.octulipfestival.com .