Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Six O'Clock News: Tulip Time 2009

Tulip Time in Holland runs through this Saturday. If you like flowers and people that dance in wooden shoes, this festival is for you. Lots to do and see - make sure and go to Windmill Island, home of the only Dutch windmill in the US.

When Holland, Michigan residents Willard Wichers and Carter Brown were looking for a way to pay homage to the city's Dutch heritage, they began a project to bring a Dutch windmill to the United States. However, many of these monumental structures had suffered serious damage in World War II. As a result, the Dutch government had placed a ban on the sale of windmills outside the Netherlands. Wichers and his group were able to gain an exemption by selecting a heavily damaged mill known as De Zwaan. De Zwaan was at the center of a controversy, with three local agencies unable to determine the future of the damaged windmill. The Dutch government decided to sell it to Wichers for $2800, making De Zwaan the last windmill to leave the Netherlands.

In October, 1964, De Zwaan arrived aboard the Prins Willem van Oranje. It was unloaded at the Muskegon harbor and transported by truck to Windmill Island in Holland. It took approximately 6 months to reconstruct the mill.

In April 1965, the 125-foot (38 m) windmill was formally dedicated on Windmill Island, a 36-acre (150,000 m2) site reclaimed from a swamp on the eastern end of Lake Macatawa. It is open from late April through early October.

They have a reproduction Dutch village and a "1700s trade fair", complete with period costumes and flags and lots of stuff for sale. Downtown Holland has parades and concerts going on - plenty of places to eat and shop as well. Nice town. Oh, and I discovered why Pete hates the turtles. You'll have to sit through the show to see.