The Holland Sentinel recognized the Holland AM Rotary Club in a roundup of volunteers who help make Tulip Time happen.


Hundreds of volunteers make Tulip Time a festival to come back to

Posted May 10, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Many of them are recognizable this year by their orange shirts; others are more behind the scenes. That number also includes the scores of Dutch dancers, many of whom dance every evening.

“They do everything,” said Jessica Westra, Tulip Time parade and volunteer coordinator.

The long list in part includes setting up bleachers, delivering potted tulips, ushering, being parade marshals, selling bleacher tickets or doing bleacher patrol, office work, delivering brochures and helping at any of the events.

There is one woman who is helping Kenny Rogers with his wardrobe for his show this evening, Westra said, and several who play the Dutch dance music. There are more than 150 who staff the three information booths around town.

Many volunteers have been involved in the festival for “many, many years,” Westra said. Some volunteers stayed involved because, as children, they either played in the marching bands or walked in the Kinderparade. One woman has been involved with Tulip Time in some capacity for 74 years, starting as a child in the parades, Westra said.

That rings true for Paul Eshenaur of Park Township who jokingly called himself “a lifer.” He played in the marching bands in his youth and now as a member of Holland AM Rotary he helps with the bleacher patrol, a group of roughly 20 that make sure the people with bleacher tickets are the ones seated there.

“I feel like part of the community,” Eshenaur said.

Paul Stagg, also from Rotary, oversees the bleacher group of volunteers. He’s been watching the bleachers for seven years with volunteers from the Rotary and Empty Nesters, a group he and his wife formed.

Kris Kennedy is another bleacher volunteer. Her favorite part is talking to the tour groups that come into town. She and her husband have been volunteering for seven years, since they moved to the area. It helps them feel like they’re a part of Holland, she said. Kennedy doesn’t like having to tell people who have sat down without a ticket that they have to move. She called it the tough part of the job.

Stagg said many people come up to him and his crew asking a variety of questions about Tulip Time.

But, “We can’t know everything,” he said, adding next year he plans to hold a Rotary meeting dedicated to informing his volunteers about the rest of Tulip Time.