Last month's weeklong Tulip Time Celebration may have kicked off with the traditional Volksparade, but there were also some modern takes on Dutch heritage to be found.
Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley all marched in their Dutch apparel
with nearly 100 groups and floats in the "People's Parade," the event that signals the start of the springtime celebration.
At the sold-out Tulip Time luncheon that took place just prior to the parade, keynote speaker Gov. Snyder addressed the crowd, saying, "It's a day to celebrate and recognize we have the tools and quality of life to do amazing things. [Tulip Time] itself is one of the great festivals in Michigan [and] our country. It does draw people from all over the world and that's important."
He continued, "It's also a great way to highlight the transformation of Michigan
... We're a top 10 state today, and by even coming to events like this, it's a good chance for people see that message, feel that energy, and be excited about coming back to Michigan to do even more."
The festival has a colossal economic impact on the area, generating $12.9 million all told. Festival visitors can enjoy the more than 6 million tulips
throughout the city, as well as the 250-year-old de Zwaan windmill, the last of its kind allowed to be brought over from the Netherlands. Windmill tours, traditional music, and antique carousel rides are among the highlights.
New to this year's festival is a twist on a classic Dutch staple: the wooden shoe.
Americans drive the most in summertime, reaching an average distance of 30.6 miles per day
. Visitors to this year's festival might not be able to drive quite that long in these shoes made of wood, steel, plaster, and fiberglass, but drivers can drive and turn in all directions. Plus, at four feet tall, four feet wide, and 12 feet long, the shoes are about the size of a sedan, which means they're fairly comfortable to drive -- and you don't have to worry about getting a splinter.
"These wooden clogs are nothing like you've ever seen before and we're thrilled to debut our team's handiwork during Tulip Time," said Mike Novakoski, chief executive officer of Elzinga and Volkers
, in a statement. "As contractors, we work with these materials every day and wanted to find a unique way to display our talents and contribute to Holland's annual festivities."
The company built the drivable shoes for both the festival and their own 70th anniversary. They hope to feature the shoes at events all around the state.
Tulip Time may now be over, but there are plenty of sights and celebrations in Michigan this summer. A list of upcoming events can be found on the Pure Michigan website