Free Things To Do During Tulip Time 2019

An old black and white photo of a baseball team.
Vintage Baseball Saturday afternoon in Riverview Park.

I’d Klomp That: Free Things To Do During Tulip Fest 2019

By Kathleen Schenck
May 2, 2019

The entire town feels the effects of Tulip Fest. While some folks directly involved in activities such as Dutch dance express excitement, many of Holland’s residents anticipate some amount of “Festival Fatigue” during the week as crowds descend on our 30,000 person town. The colorful tulips lining our peaceful streets give way to traffic jams and smells of fair food wafting through the air.

Love it or hate it, the festival is difficult to escape. Why not join the fun? But in the list of Tulip Fest events, we found many an expensive activity of questionable merit. $70 buys you a cheap seat to see misogynist Jay Leno, who once referred to Monica Lewinsky as “The Slut in the Hat.

The entity behind the Tulip Fest is not the City of Holland but Tulip Time, Inc. We’ve pulled some free events from the Tulip Time, Inc. website for your perusal, and given our stamp (klomp) of approval to the events worth your time, not your dime:

Today, Thursday May 2 at 6:15 PM: Kinder/Middel Dutch Dance. Daily starting today and ending Saturday, May, 11, kids in costume come together in Centennial Park to klomp their way through traditional Dutch dance. I’d klomp that.

Immediately following the kids is Dutch Dance. Adults take part in Dutch traditional dance daily starting Thursday and ending Sunday, May 12. I’d klomp that.

Friday, May 3. No freebies except more Dutch dance, already klomped.

Saturday May 4 through Sunday May 12: Klompen Garden. Decorated large wooden shoes are installed around downtown parks. It’s goofy but it’s free, and you can take the dog. I’d klomp that.

Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5 from 10 AM to 6 PM in Centennial Park is the Artisan Market where 250 artisans offer for sale their “handmade, original works.” Free to wander around and not smell the tulips. I’d klomp that.

Saturday May 4 through Sunday May 12: Art in Bloom at the Holland Area Arts Council is an art exhibit of the top 20 finalists of an annual poster contest. From the HAAC website: “2019 Art in Bloom Poster Competition. Tulip Time and the Holland Area Arts Council (HAAC) are pleased to announce the 2019 Art in Bloom (AIB) Festival Artwork Competition through which a work of art is selected for the official Tulip Time poster. In addition to the poster, the artwork is used on merchandise to be sold by Tulip Time.” On one hand, it’s nice that Tulip Time, Inc. is partnering with Holland Area Arts Council to include local artists in the design of the Tulip Fest posters and other merch. But artists, always known for being loaded with cash, must pay a $35 entry fee for the chance to win one of four cash prizes ranging from $200 to $1,000. We like that the entry fees go to the Arts Council, but Tulip Time, Inc. benefits from one artist’s work who is paid a grand total of $1,000. From the Holland Area Arts Council Prospectus: “This includes Tulip Time, Inc.’s exclusive copyright, trademark, licensing, marketing, distribution, reproduction and registration rights to the artwork for any and all purposes and uses.” Something tells us the right way to do it is for Tulip Time, Inc. to hire and pay a team of local designers to come up with a design to be used for all the merch that year. Artists deserve to be treated as professionals. Getting paid for doing your job shouldn’t be a contest. Or a lottery. Klomp denied.

Saturday May 4 at 11 AM and Sunday May 5 at noon: Kinderplaats. Dutch themed crafts and other activities geared towards youngsters in the Civic Center parking lot. Holland Weekly’s gonna take a pass, but if you wanna wear your kid out before naptime, klomp on.

Saturday May 4 from 2 to 4 PM at Riverview Park: Vintage Baseball game between The Douglas Dutchers and the Continental Base Ball Club of Kalamazoo. Will the uniforms be black and white like the photo? Is “baseball” really two words in Kalamazoo? This sounds fantastic. Free game on a beautiful spring day? 100% all in. I’d klomp that. Big time.

Saturday May 4 from 6:30-7 PM and Wednesday May 8 at 7:15 PM: Dutch Dance Lessons. Centennial Park. It’s all about holding hands with strangers. I’d klomp that.

Sunday May 5 at 10 AM, Monday May 6 at 7 PM, Tuesday May 7 at 7 PM, Sunday May 12 at 10 AM is Yoga in the Tulips at Window on the Waterfront. One hour of outdoor yoga with a qualified instructor. Take note that if the weather dips below 50 degrees, the event is cancelled. There is a $10 suggested donation that goes to Tulip Time, Inc. Does Tulip Time in turn give the money to the instructor? If so, better to advertise “donations accepted for the instructor” because, again, transparency is key, and professionals deserve to be paid. As is, we read this as a free event. I’d klomp that. Namaste.

Starting Thursday May 2 through May 29th at Lievense Gallery: Holland Friends of the Arts Show. “Come check out beautiful art by local artists! This beautiful juried art exhibit boasts a wide range of original works. Many works are for sale. This is a great time to pick up a piece for your collection.” I’d klomp that.

Starting Monday May 6 is BPW Visitor Center Self Guided Tours from 10-11:30 AM, 2-3:30 PM, Holland Board of Public Works, 625 Hastings Avenue We are left to wonder if this is a tour of the BPW offices on Hastings, where the highlight would be a vintage cash register behind glass, or a tour of the actual plant in downtown Holland. We like BPW. They gave city residents free trees and lightbulbs and red-rimmed Wayfarers last Saturday for Arbor Day. But we can’t give our klomp of approval without knowing if we’re touring the place we pay our bill or the plant where we’ll be fed propaganda about natural gas energy. What the frack? Klomp denied.

Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM is the Dutch Marktplaats at the Holland Civic Center. See what our tax dollars did at the newly renovated Civic Center while window shopping Dutch stuff. From the website: “Shop Dutch-inspired wares, learn a phrase or two in Dutch, and enjoy entertainment such as live wooden shoe carvings and Klompen dancing.” Might be worth a quick walk through for the people watching alone. I’d klomp that.

Tuesday May 7 through the week is the Holland Garden Club Flower Show from 3-9 PM at Herrick District Library, 300 S. River. What’s that? See pretty flowers while raiding the Herrick Seed Library to grow your own? You bet your rosebud I’d klomp that!

Wednesday May 8 with more dates throughout the week: Hope College Organ Recitals 10 AM-2 PM at Dimnent Chapel, Hope College, 277 College Ave. Free creepy organ music in a probably haunted church? I’d klomp that.

Wednesday May 8 from 1:30 to 2 PM downtown on 8th Street between Columbia and Kollen Park: White Glove Inspection and Street Scrubbing. From the website: “The Mayor and the City Council don their white gloves and inspect the parade route, the Town Crier declares that the “streets need scrubbing” and the Metal Flow Volksparade kicks off! Anyone interested in joining the Tennant Company Scrubbers in this annual spring cleaning must be in Dutch costume and bring buckets and brooms to the parade start at 8th St. & Columbia by 1:15.” Super weird and unnecessary activity that anyone in costume with a bucket can enjoy. What it means to “be in Dutch costume” I assume is left open to interpretation.

Cat in pancake costume.
Cat in pancake costume.

I’d klomp that.

Wednesday May 8 from 2 to 3 PM downtown on 8th Street is the Volksparade. Heck yeah. Everyone loves a parade. From the website: “… sit back and enjoy the pageantry of this “People’s Parade,” as marching bands, amazing floats and entertaining specialty entries wind their way down the freshly scrubbed streets. Bringing up the “tail end” of the parade are the infamous Dutch Dogs!” I’d clomp that.

Wednesday May 8 from 2 to 3 PM downtown on 8th Street is the Dutch Dogs on Parade. Dogs. In costume. On parade! I’d klomp that.

Thursday May 9 from 2 to 3 PM downtown on 8th Street is the Kinderparade. (See Holland Weekly’s articles on inclusivity in the Kinderparade in past issues.) One of three parades during the festival. I’d klomp that.

Friday May 10 32nd Annual Handbell Concert at 7:30 PM, First United Methodist Church, 57 W 10th St, Holland. Yes. Yes. Likely to be beautiful and peaceful, considering the chaos outside. From the church website: “31st Annual Tulip Time Handbell Concert. When: Friday, May 10, 2019 @7:30 PM – 9:00 PM. Where: Sanctuary. All are invited to enjoy this concert featuring three handbell choirs: the Tinninnabulation Ringers, the Celebration Ringers, and the Evergreen Commons Ringers. Admission is free but a free-will offering will be taken to cover expenses. For questions, please contact David Newton by clicking on his name or calling 616-396-5205.” I’d klomp that.

Saturday Fireworks at Kollen Park, 6:30 till 11 PM. Seems a long time for fireworks, and it’s not dark till after 9 PM. But there’s a whole night of free entertainment including live country music from Macy Krew and a mac and cheese eating contest. I’d klomp that.

Saturday from 2 to 3:30 PM downtown is the third of three parades, the Muziekparade. Rain or shine, sounds divine. I’d klomp that.

Sunday May 12 is Mother’s Day, and there’s a market for that. From 10 AM to 4 PM visit the Moederday Market at the Civic Center where you can listen to live swing band music and eat goodies from an array of food trucks while shopping for Mother’s Day gifts. I’d klomp that.

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