Showcasing Diversity in Holland's Festivals with Linda Hart of the Holland, Michigan CVB
Episode 10521st April 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
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There is so much more to Holland, Michigan that just tulips. In this episode, Linda Hart, Executive Director of the Holland Convention and Visitor's Bureau guides us on a trip through the various festivals that take place throughout the year. Holland has a very diverse culture and their goal is to celebrate them all.

Links:

  • Discover Holland
  • Tulip Time
  • Juneteeth
  • Pride Festival
  • Latino Festival
  • Celtic Festival
  • International Festival

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Transcripts

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We love our festivals, we love our parades.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And we also recognize that we today, while we were founded by the Dutch,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we are very culturally diverse today.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so we like to celebrate, those other cultures throughout the year.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Juneteenth Festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Pride festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a fiesta for our Latino population.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Celtic festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Then in the fall we have an international festival, just so that we wanna

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

make sure that we round it all up.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone and welcome back to Ordinary

Cliff Duvernois:

People, Extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

We are continuing our series into the great city of Holland, Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, when we think about Holland, we have this mental image of tulips.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's the big windmill.

Cliff Duvernois:

But Holland is so much more than just that.

Cliff Duvernois:

There are so many festivals, activities and sites that Holland has

Cliff Duvernois:

to offer throughout the entire year.

Cliff Duvernois:

Holland is also connected to a major cultural icon, which I

Cliff Duvernois:

definitely did not know about.

Cliff Duvernois:

To guide us on our exploration of Holland.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm sitting today with Linda Hart, the executive director of the

Cliff Duvernois:

Holland Convention and Visitors Bureau, or the Holland CVB.

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda, how are you?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I'm doing great.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

How are you?

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm doing awesome.

Cliff Duvernois:

Thank you for asking.

Cliff Duvernois:

Why don't you share with us a little bit about where you're

Cliff Duvernois:

from, where you grew up.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Sure.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So I grew up in Columbus, Ohio.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

so for all, everybody in

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Michigan, I am a Buckeye, so don't boo his me.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I actually

Cliff Duvernois:

keep the Bohi out

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda Hart, Holland CVB: I appreciate that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Actually, I came to Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's a dude ranch about an hour north of here called the

Cliff Duvernois:

Double J Ranch in Golf Resort.

Cliff Duvernois:

I've never heard of this.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

it was an adult ranch that started in the thirties and, as all of these

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

adults, they got married, they had kids, and then they ended up opening,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

what they called the Back 40.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so it became a family, ranch and golf resort, uh, little town called Rothbury,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

just again, about an hour north of here.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, anyway, went on vacation up there and I rode a horse.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I was in the banking industry in Columbus and I rode a horse and I thought,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

this is what I wanna do with my life.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I went back to Columbus and I quit my job.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I found a job mucking stalls and an equestrian facility.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

11 years later,

Cliff Duvernois:

Sweet Moses.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

this?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I know 11 years later I was the, equestrian director

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

at the, uh, at the ranch.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Uh, I, I'll tell you, one of the best jobs I've ever.

Cliff Duvernois:

Wow.

Cliff Duvernois:

Let's, so that, I'll admit I've never heard that before.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's really great.

Cliff Duvernois:

Going from banking to mucking stalls.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, exactly right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Six figures to, you know, $3 and 15 cents, which was probably what

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the minimum wage was at that point.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, so, well, We were talking earlier that, you know, what, 2008, what happened,

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Your.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and so I met my husband up there and so he was, um, he

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

was a Hope graduate uh here in Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so we relocated to Holland and that's how I ended up working

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

here at the Visitors Bureau.

Cliff Duvernois:

So was that the first job you took when you came to the area?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Actually, no.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

My husband and I bought into a restaurant called Boatworks Waterfront Restaurant.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ah.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Ah.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

He in food and beverage.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So we bought half the restaurant, the operations side of it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we did that for six years.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I had a really good appreciation of how hard it is to work in food and beverage.

Cliff Duvernois:

Sweet Moses.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Absolutely right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And after six years I was like, I can't do this anymore.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, you, You, appreciate it, but it is super, super hard work.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

Um,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and so then I did a very, very brief stint in real estate.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So no judging, very, very brief

Cliff Duvernois:

I think everybody's done a stint in real estate,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

estate.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I, um, I was just looking for some, additional work and the visitors

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

bureau offered me some part-time work.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And three months later I was, I was full-time there.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so I did community outreach for nine years, no, actually, no, I'm so sorry.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Six years.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And then the pandemic hit.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Uh, The previous executive director retired.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And um, so I stepped into the role as interim.

Cliff Duvernois:

So just for our audience, Tell us a little bit about what the

Cliff Duvernois:

Convention and Visitors Bureau does.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Sure.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So the CVB or the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we are mandated

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

under a Michigan Public Act.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's actually Public Act Number 59, so it falls under the M E D C, which

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and which allows us

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

as a CVB to collect an assessment through all of our lodging properties.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So any, any hotel or motel that has at least 10 rooms, transient

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

rooms collects 5% for us it's 5%.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And then passes that on to us.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We use those dollars to market Holland as a destination.

Cliff Duvernois:

And what I'd like to do is kind of talk to you a little bit

Cliff Duvernois:

about just the city of Holland in general.

Cliff Duvernois:

Maybe a little bit about the history and the drive towards tourism.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Sure.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

you know, Holland as a destination.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That's our role is to market Holland as a destination.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And we're very unique because we're named Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We were founded by the Dutch.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's a lot of brand equity there.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

A lot of brand equity and you know,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and we're fortunate because a lot of communities don't have that.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We really don't have that.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So we are very, very fortunate.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Holland was settled by the Dutch in 1847.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

A minister by the name of, Van Raalte.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

He was ex-communicated from the state church in the Netherlands.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So immigrated to the United States.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Landed in West Michigan.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

They were actually on their way to Wisconsin, landed in West Michigan.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Thought the area looked very much like it did in the Netherlands

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Was wooded.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

There was water and they decided to settle here.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And ever since then, as the story goes, Then that's where we still are today.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Um, Hope College was founded by, Van Raalte, was used to be called Pioneer

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Academy, Hope Academy, and then today, Hope College, which was founded in 1851.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that was, it was in a, you know, when, when Van Raalte came here, he had

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

three initiatives to educate children, build a community of faith, and build

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

a prosperous business community.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I'd say he did pretty well.

Cliff Duvernois:

I think so.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'd have to agree with that assessment.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You know, and, and Holland's history.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

if everybody remembers 1871, the Great Chicago fire,

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Holland burned on that same Sunday in October.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

80% of Holland was burned in two hours.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's spooky.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That's

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

true.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yeah.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Um, and there were three other fires in the region.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Peshtigo, Wisconsin is the, um, that is the, if you ask Alexa, or if you ask

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

your smart speaker to say, what is the greatest American, fire in history, she's

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

gonna say it's in Peshtigo, Wisconsin.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

2,500 people perished over a million acres were charred.

Cliff Duvernois:

Wow.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Manistee, Michigan burned on the same

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

day in addition to Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So, you know, that's kind of part of our, that's, that's part of our history.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

But what's really cool is that our museum, they do historical walking

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

tours and one of the walking tours that they do is a path of the fire.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

This building burned, this building survived.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

This is what happened.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

This is what happened.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And if you go into the museum, there's a lot of, furniture artifacts that the

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Dutch, they buried them in the sand in order cuz the fire was moving so quickly.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So I mean that's kind of, you know, it, it's those kinds of

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

events and stories that our office gets to share with visitors.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Cuz they'll come into our office and they'll be like, what is there to do?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's like, what are you interested?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You wanna go to the beach?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You wanna learn something Dutch?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You wanna learn history, you wanna go shopping, you wanna go dining?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's, so that's kind of everything that our community has.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We grasp that so that we can turn around and share those

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

stories when people come in.

Cliff Duvernois:

So as somebody who is fanatical about stories, I have to

Cliff Duvernois:

give you credit cuz a lot of the times when I'm out there talking with people,

Cliff Duvernois:

they only wanna focus on the good.

Cliff Duvernois:

sure.

Cliff Duvernois:

Right.

Cliff Duvernois:

The only one focus on, oh, everybody's happy and all the smiles.

Cliff Duvernois:

So the fact that you're actually making it a point to include the fact.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah, Holland burned.

Cliff Duvernois:

Mm-hmm.

Cliff Duvernois:

You know, and that, and just the, the fact that I'm trying to fathom these

Cliff Duvernois:

people saying, Quick, bury the furniture in sand so it doesn't, you know, rather

Cliff Duvernois:

than throw it on like a, the back of a carriage and try to drive it out with

Cliff Duvernois:

horses, maybe they couldn't do that.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, you know, It's interesting that you say that because we, our office are

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

docents for the cruise ship industry.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have cruise ships

Cliff Duvernois:

that that's right.

Cliff Duvernois:

Do

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Great Lakes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Uh, they used to dock in Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

At this point in time they don't.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We're hoping to get them back, but.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So we pick up the passengers cuz they dock in Muskegon and then we bring them down.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And, you know, as a, as a tourist office, it's always, we can always

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

talk about wooden shoes and windmills,

Cliff Duvernois:

You know, Right.

Cliff Duvernois:

the

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Dutch part of it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

But a lot of, a lot of folks that when they come in, they wanna know.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Why our community is as good as it is, wh what services do we have?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

How do we treat the homeless?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

How do we treat the mentally ill?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

How, what do we do with, how is, how is our energies, preserved?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have an anaerobic digester, you know, I mean, If you ever come into our town and

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

you see that, big, giant ball over there.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

People are like, what is that?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That's the kind of information that you, we also wanna be able to share because at

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the end of the day, Cliff, you might say, I wanna relocate to Holland, Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm thinking about it

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

because of what this community has to offer.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's kind of fun.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, it definitely is.

Cliff Duvernois:

It definitely is.

Cliff Duvernois:

And one of the things that comes to mind, of course, with this is, and I

Cliff Duvernois:

talked a little bit about this with, Matt Helmus is with the community

Cliff Duvernois:

growing and everything that's going on here, a little bit about the

Cliff Duvernois:

sustainability, of getting, can you, can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I can talk to a little bit about it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You know, we.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We are always as a re, I mean, I'm a citizen, I'm a resident here.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so we took advantage of our board of public works to be able to come into our

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

own home and give us an assessment on how, how energy efficient our home is.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so, you know, that that's just one example that the city

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

partnering with our Board of Public Works has programs in place to help

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

citizens become more sustainable.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We talked about snow melt.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We talked about, I don't know if you talked about snow melt, but

Cliff Duvernois:

we talk about snow melt and,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and what an

Cliff Duvernois:

main

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

really, and you know, it's a closed loop system before

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the water used to pour into Lake Macatawa.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's a closed loop system.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We talked about the anaerobic digester.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

What's doing that

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Hope College and the sustainability efforts that they have.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We even talk about, our tree canopy and inventorying our historic, our

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

heritage trees, you know, old, old trees, and how to preserve those both

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

on our public and in our private spaces.

Cliff Duvernois:

And with that, we're gonna take a quick

Cliff Duvernois:

break to thank our sponsors.

Cliff Duvernois:

When we come back, we're going to explore more of these amazing

Cliff Duvernois:

festivals that are going on.

Cliff Duvernois:

A little something for everyone.

Cliff Duvernois:

We're also gonna learn more about how Holland is connected to a major cultural

Cliff Duvernois:

and American icon, and what they are doing to celebrate that connection.

Cliff Duvernois:

We will see you after the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

If you are enjoying this episode, Well then let me tell you, there's plenty

Cliff Duvernois:

more interesting stories to come.

Cliff Duvernois:

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Okay.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone and welcome back to Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we are continuing to explore one of the top destinations in

Cliff Duvernois:

the great state of Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

That would be Holland helping us with that monumental task.

Cliff Duvernois:

Is Linda Hart, the executive director of the Holland cvb.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, before the break, we spent a little bit of time talking about Holland's

Cliff Duvernois:

history, both the good and the bad, and we hinted at one of Holland's biggest

Cliff Duvernois:

festivals that would be Tulip Time.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I do want to talk a bit more about that, but I also know

Cliff Duvernois:

that Holland has so much more.

Cliff Duvernois:

To offer besides Tulip time.

Cliff Duvernois:

So Linda, if you would please talk to us a little bit more about Tulip

Cliff Duvernois:

time, and that's then let's move on to some of the other great festivals

Cliff Duvernois:

and events that Holland has to offer.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Sure.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

so you probably heard the story of Tulip Time with Lida Rodgers and you

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

know, we've been, we will celebrate 93 years of the festival this year.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

5 million tulips.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You know, It's interesting because we're known as the city of Tulips, right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

People associate Holland, Michigan with tulips.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Oh, I've heard of Michigan.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

They have a big tulip festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, little known fact is that before we were known for the City of Tulips,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we were known as the City of Churches.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, wow.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We had pre Tulip Time, 170 churches representing

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

49 denominations, 170 churches.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We're not a very large community.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, city of Holland, 35, 30 4,000 residents.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Greater Holland area 111, 112,000.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So 170 churches.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And I mean, that's today.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

When, think about today, you know, not back in, the turn of the century.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

The 19 hundreds.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

today we have I think 140 churches representing

Cliff Duvernois:

that's still a good number

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Only two Catholic churches that we have in

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

our community, which is interesting.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

But celebrating the festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We love our festivals, we love our parades.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And we also recognize that we today, while we were founded by the Dutch,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we are very culturally diverse today.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so we like to celebrate, those other cultures throughout the year.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Juneteenth Festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Pride festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a fiesta for our Latino population.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We have a Celtic festival.

Cliff Duvernois:

Just to take a step back before, before we hit the

Cliff Duvernois:

record button, you were saying that the Latino population, the 30%,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

30% of our population is Latino.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's the largest growing population that we have, in our community.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's very, very cool, and, well, I won't say this is a, we have

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

a very large, senior population.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So our heated streets and sidewalks, we ha we get a lot of snowbirds.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We will have dual residences and because downtown is so walkable and if you ever

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

walk downtown, you will see a lot of housing that's dedicated to 55 and over.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Which just, you know, which makes it ums.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I, guess

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

you're, you can, you can almost meet anybody downtown really at

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the end, at any given day because of how culturally diverse we are.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So, Yes, so Celtic Festival and then in the fall we have an international

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

festival, just so that we wanna make sure that we round it all up.

Cliff Duvernois:

So let's go back and let's, let's talk a little bit about

Cliff Duvernois:

some of these festivals you mentioned before about a Celtic festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yeah.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that was a new festival that we started last year, or, well, that

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the Celtic of the group of guys, they just, um, they're like, Nope,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we need to have our own festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And, they got Guinness as a sponsor.

Cliff Duvernois:

Nice.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

their

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

They're only sponsor.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

They have what's called a Kaylee the night before on a Friday night.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's a big dance party.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, you know, It's, uh, live music and, over 21 type of activity.

Cliff Duvernois:

Certainly.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And then, uh, the next day are all Highland games.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So if you can think of a Highland game, they're doing it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So I mean, if you think, okay, let me ask you a Question, What would

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

you think of as a Highland game?

Cliff Duvernois:

Uh,

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda Hart, Holland CVB: Throwing the big stumps.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

In the big rock.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Feats of strength.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Strength, right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

this is what guys do, and they get clans, from all over the region, who

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

will come to Holland and participate.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And then they've got all the dancers, the clogs, and then the vendors.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's really an immersive experience to, to participate in these kind

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

of festivals because you're, you're really seeing how, it's, you know,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

education, it's entertainment, and it's, it's more of awareness.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and this is the culture of that particular community, which is kind of cool.

Cliff Duvernois:

So when you're talking about the Celtic Irish

Cliff Duvernois:

Festival, when does that take place?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So the Celtic Irish festival is in June.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's June 23 and 24th this year.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's always Friday, Saturday,

Cliff Duvernois:

but it is in June.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It is in June.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Okay.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It is in as well as our Pride Festival and our Juneteenth Festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Fiesta is in July, and then the international festival is in October.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So we kind of round out, you know, all these festivals from May through October

Cliff Duvernois:

with a nice international one.

Cliff Duvernois:

what's a Fiesta festival like?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

it's, well, oh gosh, the fiesta is, it's kind of migrated

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

over, the course of the last decade or so.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Also used to include a film festival, like an independent Latino film festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

But a lot of dancing, a lot of live music.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

f.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

A lot of Mexican good mexican food,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

lot

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh my God, I miss good Mexican

Cliff Duvernois:

food.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

They're gonna throw in a car show because

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

you can't have a, you know, you can't really have a fiesta unless you're

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

gonna have a really souped up car

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda Hart, Holland CVB: Which Which is also very cool.

Cliff Duvernois:

And that's, That f that festival takes place in downtown as well.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we are anchored on the west end of downtown by our Holland

Cliff Duvernois:

Civic Center, uh, which is a great facility, 55,000 square feet.

Cliff Duvernois:

So some of the festival components are inside and the stage, in the atrium, which

Cliff Duvernois:

is the opening area, and then also outside with some of the car show components.

Cliff Duvernois:

So it's, I'll tell you, the food alone is reason to go.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, and I would agree with that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Like I said, I've been missing good Mexican food.

Cliff Duvernois:

Tell us about the International festival.

Cliff Duvernois:

What's that like?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So the International Festival is a festival

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

put on by, the city of Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So that is out of all the festivals that is city owns that festival.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And that, again, is at the, is at the Civic Center, but

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

it's celebrating all cultures.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So you've got, you've got the Latino, you've got the, caucasian.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You have the, American Black, you have the African, you know, You have the Celtic.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You have the Irish.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it's, and, and that festival and a lot of components with that are a lot

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

of presentations and demonstrations and dancing on the stage in addition to more

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

food, because that's all we like to do.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Apparently Hollanders love to eat because there's just, and, and so you're getting

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

a chance to taste what, what comes out of all these different regions of the world,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

but let live here in Holland, Michigan.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

There's a little, there's a passport that kids can do and they can

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, that's cute.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

the different countries and experience it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that's kind of fun.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, it's just, again, it's just showing the community pride,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

uh, for, for everybody here and celebrating that and bringing awareness

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

to, everybody in our community.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm liking this theme of the fact that, you

Cliff Duvernois:

celebrate and you say we're Dutch.

Cliff Duvernois:

But you're also coming out and saying, but you know what, we're also Latino.

Cliff Duvernois:

We are also Celtic we are also

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Correct.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That's exactly right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Which is super important for us.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Because again, when that visitor comes in and thinks that we're all wearing Dutch

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

costumes or Dutch attire and wearing clump and wooden shoes, and our downtown

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

should look like, the Netherlands does.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That's a good founding for us, but we're really who we are today.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You know, and, and

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Interesting fact is that when the.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

When the Dutch settled it, they weren't really necessarily

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

interested in all the architecture looking like that stepping gable,

Cliff Duvernois:

right?

Cliff Duvernois:

You

Cliff Duvernois:

see,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

wasn't really until the 1920s that

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

developers and builders started putting a nod to that style.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So some of our newer buildings that you see downtown, the Macatawa Bank

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

or the Courtyard by Marriott, you see that stepping Gable style, which

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

just are just nods to the Dutch heritage throughout our community.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And of course, Hope College.

Cliff Duvernois:

I was pleasantly surprised in some of my research

Cliff Duvernois:

here, and you actually mentioned it in some correspondence that

Cliff Duvernois:

you and I had the Wizard of Oz exhibit that caught my attention.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us about

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Well, I would never realize in a million years that

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

there are so many folks, probably my age and probably your age, that have very,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

very fond memories of The Wizard of Oz.

Cliff Duvernois:

Indeed.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So Frank Baum.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

He's the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

He vacationed here in Holland on Lake Michigan.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Lake Macatawa, uh, which is a more of a private, cottage

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

area just west of downtown.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So still part of the greater Holland area.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And, he had a cottage, it was called The Sign of the Goose.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So, um, His very first selling, successful book, he used the proceeds

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and built a house, built a well, built a cottage on Lake Michigan,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

called the Sign of the Goose.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And it is said by his great-great grandson that while vacationing here during the

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

summer months, a lot of his inspiration came from, just vacationing here.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So there was a lot of yellow brick.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It was called the veneklasen brick, that it's of yellow brick.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

That was, you know, was the pavers for the streets and the sidewalks.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And and obviously it was the yellow brick road,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Right, right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

The little girl that lived two doors down.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I believe her name was Dorothy.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

You know, and so there's a, there's a picture that, you know, that you,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, you can look at anywhere on, uh, if you just Google it, uh,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

a Baum with a little girl, with a little monkey on her shoulder, those,

Cliff Duvernois:

my goodness.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

kind of

Cliff Duvernois:

Right.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

and so, We just wanted to pay homage to them

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

recognizing that there were ties to Baum and that extremely classic,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

classic story, here in Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And we don't claim that he wrote the story here.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We don't claim that he wrote the whole book here because we know that there

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

was a lot of inspiration in his life of.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Anybody does the research, we're just saying, Hey, a little bit a

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

part of him and a part of his life.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And his history was here in Holland and we wanted to celebrate it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So we decided that, it was a collaboration with our office, the

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

city of Holland, the library, and a organization called Holland in Bloom.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And, to bring seven bronze sculptures, uh, life-size bronze sculptures to Holland.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

What the Holland in Bloom piece brought to the project was a book.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's called A Living Mosaic, uh, which is a book, so it's a 10 foot by 12 foot book.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Think Topiary, but instead of a topiary being alive, right, alive

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

tree that they, or a shrub that they, they trimmed to make a shape.

Cliff Duvernois:

right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

This is a steel frame and it's got, growing fabric with a

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

soil medium in it, and then 6,000 plants are put in this book and then, plants

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that grow together like creeping plants.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And, the book is open and it has the image, uh, it's got the yellow brick road.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It says A Wonderful Wizard of Oz and it's got the castle all made outta plants,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

front and back, all made outta plants.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So there's two parts of the exhibit, again, kitty corner from each.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Across the street from the, city hall where we are right now in

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

a park called Centennial Park.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So the book is in Centennial Park.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's a seasonal book, right?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's got annuals.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It's got living plants on it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So it comes back into the city greenhouses.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

At the end of the season, all the plants come out, new plants are put

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

in the book grows again and comes out.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

The statues, because the, the, the statues are located at the library, which again,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

kitty corner along Yellow Brick Road.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

But because the project was so successful and so popular, we did

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

some fundraising for the project.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Uh, the,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

we wanted to, we did some fundraising.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Thought we will sell engraved bricks.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Okay, let's sell engraved bricks.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We were hoping that maybe we could, fundraise maybe $20,000

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

if we were lucky, maybe $50,000.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, This is a big, big project as far as financial cost to it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

We raised a little under of a quarter of a million dollars.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, beautiful.

Cliff Duvernois:

I love that.

Cliff Duvernois:

I Love, that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh,

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And it, the, the amount of support and

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

love that people had for this story and wanted to be a piece of it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, There were marriage proposals, um, you know, in

Cliff Duvernois:

oh, that's cute in

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

these books.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

There were sa I mean, it was, it was amazing.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And then people were like, well, can I buy a statue?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I'm like, like, the really expensive, you know, we had, we ended up putting benches

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

all throughout the exhibit you know, that people ended up sponsoring and funding.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And so, I mean, it was, it was an amazing project.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And if any, if there's when you come to Holland in the summer, if you loved

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that story or if you were scared of the monkeys or you cried when, Dorothy

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

was kidnapped by the witch, if, if there's any emotion that stirs in

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

that, you've gotta see this exhibit.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

And what's super, super cool about this is that this story is now lending itself

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

for everybody like us who love the story to tell our grandkids that story.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

So the, the story is getting a resurgence of popularity because of

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

this exhibit that happened to go in.

Cliff Duvernois:

I bet you too, that from you know, from a, a generational

Cliff Duvernois:

standpoint, being able to share this movie, this classic, with the younger

Cliff Duvernois:

generation, be able to say, oh, by the way, the author, he actually lived here.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's exactly the inspiration is here.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's wonderful.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Yes.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

I mean, it is, it's, it's a cool story.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

It really is.

Cliff Duvernois:

I know.

Cliff Duvernois:

That's why I wanted to explore it.

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda, this is, this is one of those interviews.

Cliff Duvernois:

I could sit here all day and just pepper you with questions and I'm loving it.

Cliff Duvernois:

So this just means that we're gonna have to come back.

Cliff Duvernois:

For our audience, if anybody wants to connect with what's going on

Cliff Duvernois:

in Holland, realizing that there's more than just the Tulip Festival.

Cliff Duvernois:

There's all these other festivals going on, especially if you

Cliff Duvernois:

wanna get your Celtic on.

Cliff Duvernois:

Uh, What would be the best way for em to do that?

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Certainly visit our website@holland.org.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Uh, you can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram or even

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Pinterest at Discover Holland.

Cliff Duvernois:

Wonderful.

Cliff Duvernois:

Linda, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule today to talk to us.

Cliff Duvernois:

We really appreciate it.

Linda Hart, Holland CVB:

Okay, thank you.

Cliff Duvernois:

And for our audience, you can go to total michigan.com,

Cliff Duvernois:

click on Linda's interview and see all the links that she mentioned above.

Cliff Duvernois:

While you're there, make sure to sign up for our free email newsletter.

Cliff Duvernois:

Also take some time to listen to the other two interviews that we

Cliff Duvernois:

have done from Holland, Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

That would be with Mayor Nathan Bocks.

Cliff Duvernois:

As well as Matt Helmus, who is the director of the Windmill Island Gardens.

Cliff Duvernois:

We'll see you again next week with another great story.

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