ORANGE CITY, Iowa | The granddaddy of Siouxland spring celebrations turns 75 this year as the Orange City Tulip Festival plays out May 14-16.
The festival allows residents of Orange City to wear their Dutch heritage on their sleeves, or their feet, in this case, as hundreds don wooden shoes while parading downtown, playing musical instruments, marching with the bands, scrubbing the streets or participating in traditional Dutch dance displays.
Orange City was settled in 1869 by four Dutch immigrants who left their settlement in Pella, Iowa, and headed northwest to establish a second colony. Pella's Tulip Festival plays out just ahead of the Orange City Tulip Festival and the queen's courts from both communities attend both celebrations.
Cara Venema recently was crowned 2015 Tulip Festival Queen. Venema, a senior at MOC-Floyd Valley High School in Orange City, is the daughter of Dan and Tonya Venema. Court members include Jennifer Droog, Sydney Huizenga, Micah Vande Vegte and Emily Wielenga.
A queen has been crowed to reign over the Tulip Festival since 1937.
An honorary dignitary called the "Burgomeester" has helps start and preside over the celebration. Deb De Haan, Orange City mayor, presided over the 2014 celebration.
In addition to multiple parades each day, there's a Dutch street market open daily downtown, a place offering all sorts of Dutch treats within easy view of tens of thousands of tulips in bloom at Windmill Park, a picturesque setting that surrounds the historic Sioux County Courthouse.
There's also a musical each year. In 2014, Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" celebrated the Tulip Festival's Night Show, the first ever in the new Knight Theater at Orange City Unity Christian High School.