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Wooden Shoes and Windmills

Paying Homage to my Hometown

overcast 15 °F

Lynden residents embrace their Dutch heritage with a passion. Miniature windmills grace the perfectly manicured lawns, Dutch themed shops line Front Street, and looking through a phone directory would prove useless as every family name begins with “Van.” Sitting almost directly on the US/Canada border two hours North of Seattle, Lynden is your quintessential All-American community. Farming reigns supreme and Lynden’s annual celebrations (Harvest Festival, Raspberry Festival, Tractor Show, and Plowing Match) express the importance of agriculture to this small town of about 10,000. The only pursuit which rivals farming in this quaint town is fundamental, Bible thumping, church-going, conservatism. In fact, it wasn’t until just recently that alcohol could be purchased on a Sunday. It’s hard to believe that Lynden associates itself with The Netherlands, a country whose progressive drug policies would send Lyndenites into a fury of rage. Nevertheless, Lynden still grasps onto the old Holland and it is hard to deny the beauty and charm of this city.



I was lured to Lynden on this particular weekend to partake in the festivities of the Farmer’s Day Parade. The parade and festival which follows hasn’t changed since I was young. Every year blonde haired, blue eyed, abnormally tall children gather on the sidewalks in anticipation for the extravaganza of tractors, horses, and free candy. When imagining a parade most people may conjure images of brightly colored floats, flashy dance teams, and the occasional costumed stilt walker, but this is Lynden, and Lynden doesn’t do flashy. Lynden has mastered the art of conservatism and each parade (there are several throughout the year) includes a barrage of fire trucks, farming equipment, and Dutch clad children. As the minutes pass, you begin to realize that every member of this tiny community has some part in the parade as the constant stream of displays appear to never end. Perhaps I am a bit cynical having witnessed and yes, participated in dozens of these parades, but it’s about time things are kicked up a notch.



For the sake of this blog, I left my reservations at the door in order to capture the truly unique beauty of Lynden, and surprising myself, I actually found the day to be quite enjoyable. Enlisting the help of my high school aged sisters, we took Lynden by storm as we applauded the marching bands, cheered for the Klompen dance performers, and strolled through the market festival following the parade.



I have to admit that even though I may drag my heels all the way to Lynden, I always leave with a great appreciation for my roots. Lynden shaped who I am today, it made me a more compassionate, spiritual person, but it also led me to seek adventure and travel the world. I was raised in a bubble, shielded from the realities of the world, stepping outside of that comfort zone was one of the smartest things I ever did. Suddenly I learned that not everyone lives with the relative comfort and safety found in Lynden. I was exposed to diversity on a grand scale and realized that we can learn a great deal from people who are not like ourselves. Lynden helped me to be more curious about the rest of the world and hopefully throughout my life I will have many opportunities to explore new cultures, people, and landscapes.

Posted by Jennylynn 23:05 Archived in USA Tagged events

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