Five annual tulip festivals in North America gain international attention and two are held in Iowa. One is held in Ontario, Canada, where the Royal family of the Netherlands lived during World War II. Another’s held in Oregon and there’s one in Holland, Michigan. Pella, Iowa, held its tulip festival earlier this month. Orange City’s tulip festival is held on the third weekend in May, so it’ll fall on the 19th, 20th and 21st this year. There’ll be a flower show, food, and street dances. Festival queen Haley Janssen says as a child, she wondered about the street cleaning ritual that happens right before the parades that are also a part of the festival.”Moms and dads, they’d all scrub the streets for the queen and court and then the bands and all the floats, the parade would go after that,” Janssen says. “It’s just a weird tradition but now it makes sense I guess.” So, does Janssen feel worthy of riding on that clean street as the 2005 Orange City Tulip Queen? “Oh, of course,” Janssen said, laughing. Janssen and her court were at the state capitol recently, wearing special Dutch costumes to promote the upcoming event. Janssen’s costume is the Sunday dress worn by women in one region of Holland. Her court wears the everyday dresses worn by women from that region. They all wear lace on their heads. Brooke Achterhoff, one of the queen’s court, explains. There’s a gold cap, with a lace overlay. Solid gold knobs are placed in their hair, just above their ears, so hold the hats in place. Achterhoff says these are the costumes worn years and years ago when women weren’t seen outside of the home unless they were wearing a hat. The queen and her court are all seniors at M-O-C/Floyd Valley high school and admit they turn heads with their costumes. “We definitely get looks like we don’t belong in this century,” Janssen says.
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