After a yearlong hiatus, celebration of Dutch culture returns to Chautauqua County
Area residents wanting to get a taste of Dutch culture won't have to go very far to do so. After taking a year off, the Clymer Tulip Festival is back, with plenty of events and activities to set to take place from May 13-15.
The Clymer Tulip Festival had its inception in 1953, when the Clymer community club instituted a Clean-up day in the interest of community improvement. The events that afternoon in May included street scrubbing (an old Dutch custom) and a small parade consisting of the High school band, a club float and several inhabitants dressed in authentic Dutch costumes.
In 1954, out of town school bands were invited to participate in parade competition. Another attraction was the scrubbing of the streets, which has been practiced ever since. The following year the various organizations were asked to sponsor a Queen candidate, the first Tulip Queen was crowned in the evening, the Hobby Show and souvenirs were added, and the affair became known as the Clymer Tulip Festival, drawing in the intervening years the crowds of spectators from all over the globe. Innovations since that time have been the famed Kleine and Groat Klompen Dancers, the Evening Program, Flower Show, antique displays, and old fashioned handcrafts. The Klompen Dancers also made appearances throughout the area during the year.
The first person to be crowed Tulip Queen was Miss Gail Williams, who was chosen in the second year of the festival in 1955. Williams was followed by Miss Loujean Legters in 1956, Miss Louella Wiggers in 1957, Miss Marian Wiltsie in 1958, Miss Jody McCourt in 1959 (who married during her reign, passing the crown to Miss Nancy TeWinkle), and 50 years ago, Miss Pat Long was Tulip Queen. Many other women from the Clymer area have also been crowned Tulip Queen, including the reigning Tulip Queen, Afton Hinsdale, who took the crown in 2008.
This year a new Tulip Queen will be crowned. The candidates are Andrea Lictus, Hannah Neckers, Rebecca Lyn Skinner, Ella Wiggers, and Kate Wiggers. The competition will take place at 8 p.m. in the Clymer Central School Student Performance Center.
Photos of all the Tulip Queens since 1955 can be found in the window of Cindy's Flowers on Main St. Also on display is the 2010 Queen Candidates in Neckers' Company window on Main St.
Complete Schedule of Events
Thursday, May 13
6:30 p.m. - An event that gives school children the opportunity to decorate their bicycles, wagons, strollers, trikes, walkers and wheelchairs and have their own parade. The parade starts in the CCS parking lot (meet at 6:15pm), proceeds down Main Street, up Clymer-Sherman Road to Freeman Street and then back to the school parking lot. In case of rain the parade will be in the CCS Student Performance Center.
Friday, May 14
May Day Celebration
To be held on CCS School Lawn. Starts at 2:30 p.m.
From 3 to 10 p.m. Located at the corner of Main (Rt. 474) and Freeman Streets. Sponsored by the Clymer Historical Society.
Tulip Queen Crowning
8 p.m. – located at the CCS Student Performance Center. Admission is a donation of the attendees choosing.
Saturday, May 15
Street Scrubbers & Klompen Dancers
Begins at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Main & Freeman Streets.
Tulip Festival Parade
Starts at 2 p.m. Parade begins at Corner of Main & Mohawk Streets and continues to Clymer Fire Hall.
The Maplevale Farms Wooden Shoe 5K Run/Walk
Registration in the Clymer Central School Lobby begins at 8 a.m. Race starts at 9 a.m.
Clymer-French Creek Library Book Sale
Begins at 9 a.m.
Wooden Shoe Kids Race
Located at the CCS Track. Starts at 9:45 a.m.
Klein & Groat Klompen Dancers
School age children "show off" a traditional Dutch dance on Main Street at 10 a.m.
Lawn and Garden Tractor Pull
Located at Lictus Keystone and hosted by Lake Erie Pulling. For more information, visit www.lakeeriepulling.com. Starts at 10 a.m.
At the CCS Student Performance Center & Lawn. $5 admission. Runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
A variety of vendors in the CCS Elementary Gymnasium and the CCS School lawn. Runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Antique Tractor Display
Hosted by Brokenstraw Tractor Club and located at Lictus Keystone. Starts at 10 a.m.
Classic Car & Antique Car Show
Located at Jim Turner Sales and hosted by Street Machines Unlimited. Runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Amish Baked Goods & Crafts Sale
Located in the Clymer Fire Hall and running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sponsored by the Class of 2024. Located at the CCS School Cafeteria. Starts at 11 a.m.
Fish Fry Dinner
Starts at noon and continues until 5 p.m. at Poochie Mama's. Take out or eat in. Sponsored by the Class of 2021.
Food vendors open along Main St. at 10 a.m.
Child Safety Seat Inspection & Fingerprinting
Clymer Fire Hall. Sponsored by the Sheriff's Department and Masons. Runs from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
NY Volunteer Infantry Unit
A newly based Civil War History organization will be participating in this year's festival. They will have an encampment set up and will be available to speak with the public about the Civil
|Rebecca Lyn Skinner|
War and the life of a soldier during the war. The unit will also be available for demonstrations prior to the parade. These demonstrations will be done throughout the morning hours, starting at 9 a.m. The 72nd is also looking for volunteers to serve with them. If you are interested in the Civil War or reenacting this organization may be for you. Besides reenacting battles they also participate in Living History events in New York and Pennsylvania and make multiple trips to Gettysburg, PA each year. Come and experience history being brought back to life. Located next to Poochie Mama's.
Saturday Night Program
Starts at 8 p.m. in the CCS Student Performance Center.