The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 4, 2013

Dutch Days reflects community steeped in tradition

It started back in 1974 with a Dutch dinner organized by the Fulton Community Christian School women’s auxiliary.

In the years that followed, the dinner continued and the event grew into what is now known as Dutch Days, expanding to include downtown attractions, such as singing groups, a Dutch item sales area and Dutch dancing. Participants donning traditional costumes filled the streets, presentations with Dutch themes were scheduled and a craft show took hold.

And now, 39 years after that first dinner, the town neighboring Clinton to the east continues to gear up for the thousands of visitors who will descend upon it for this weekend’s events, many of them set for today.

There will be a car show, dancing, craft show and downtown performances. Vendors will line the streets and there will be events all weekend at nearby Heritage Canyon.

It’s a great time to meet old friends and take in the sites of the community, most within sight of the authentic Dutch windmill that was built near the river and then dedicated in 2000.

It is a celebration that is unique to Fulton, which is known for the waves of Dutch immigrants who came to the river town in the mid- to late 1800s through the mid-1900s.

It may be one of the reasons the celebration has continued to sustain itself over the years when other long-time events — such as Clinton’s Riverboat Days — fell by the wayside. It could be because the goal is clear — to celebrate the heritage of the town.

Or because the nostalgia brings people back home for the weekend.

Or maybe it’s just a nice little getaway that costs nothing to see, with money only coming out of your pocket to purchase a treat or a craft that catches the eye.

Whatever the reason, Dutch Days is a local highlight.

If you have been to the festival, you know what we mean.

If not, maybe this is your year — your day — to check it out.

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