Saturday, May 19, 2007

No tulips, but still a fun-filled day!

We left at about 8:15 a.m. for the Tulip Festival yesterday and made it home at about 9:15 p.m. It was certainly a full day for Mom, Kaitlin, and I.

One of the first things we found out upon arrival were that the tulips were gone...well, mostly...due to some of the bad weather they had had recently. There were a few patches here and there that had survived, but even those were looking pretty weather-worn.

Honestly, I have to admit that this bummed me out quite a bit. My dreams of idyllic photos of Kaitlin frolicking amongst the tulips were dashed, but despite this, we still all had a great time at the tulip festival.

When we arrived, we went on a horse drawn trolley ride around town by which we were shown where some of the main highlights or things to see were located. After that, we went for a walk and checked out a few of the shops selling souvenirs and such. We stop in the Little White Store and tried some poffertjes, a Dutch pastry...mmmmmm! By that time, it was time to find a seat for the next event.

One of the highlights of the day was definitely the Staatfest, Street Scrubbing, and the Volksparade. The Staatfest started at about 1 p.m. with a fashion show of sorts of authentic costumes from each of the Dutch provinces as well as dancers of all ages performing traditional Dutch dances. After this (and before the parade) all the costumed townsfolk come out to clean the streets. The men and boys throw water down on the streets (and sometimes elsewhere, which made it fun to watch) and then the women and girls come in mass behind them with brooms. It was quite a sight to see.

I can also say that I don't think I've ever been to a parade with such beautiful floats and so many bands. It was wonderful! The combination of those three events lasted about 2 1/2 hours, but Kaitlin was enthralled the whole time...I think it was Grandma Sue who was getting antsy (it was a long time to sit, I must admit). After the parade, we went through the Straatmarket and we all shared an almond bar (a Dutch treat) as we sat on the lawn outside the courthouse and listened to Brule for a while. It's always fun to watch them.

Then we watched a traditional 'poppencast' (puppet show), sat in the park for a while while Kaitlin enjoyed the playground and, of course, we couldn't leave without Kaitlin getting in a few carnival rides.

It was such fun to experience the day through Kaitlin's eyes...we must do more of this type of thing. I took about 300 photos over the course (yes, even without the tulips!!), but I have narrowed them down (a little) so if you would like to see some great photos from our fun-filled day, click on view all images below.

No tulips, but still a fun-filled day!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend