Tulip Court looks for opportunities to serve in spite of canceled Tulip Festival

by Sydney Hooyer/sydhooy20@pceagles.org

For the first time since World War II and the second time in its history, the city of Pella announced that the town would not be hosting its 85th annual Tulip Time on May 7-9 in an attempt to keep Pella residents and visitors safe from COVID-19. This year’s cancelation was sad news for many around the community, especially for many nonprofits and retailers who now have to deal with lost income. The 2020 Tulip Court also experienced great disappointment with the news that they would not get to participate in the festival as they had hoped. 

Seniors Molly Bolt and Jocelyn Gritters are members of this year’s court, and they both expressed that they were very upset to hear the news. “I found out Tulip Time was canceled because of coronavirus after finding out the night before that we wouldn’t go back to school for a while, and let’s just say that night was rough for me,” said Bolt. 

Growing up, Bolt and Gritters both dreamed of being on the Tulip Court someday. In elementary school, the girls observed former Tulip Courts visiting their school, appearing on the news, walking in the Klompen Classic, and riding in parades, and they hoped to do the same thing when they were seniors. “It still doesn’t feel real. I always wanted to be a part of Tulip Time and do all the little things a court got to do, like be escorted by my family, dance with the Duchesses, ride in a carriage and convertible, and more. Knowing that I will never get to have those experiences in the same way as past courts really hurts,” said Gritters.

Despite the missed experiences, Pella Historical Society and the Tulip Court moms are striving to provide as many opportunities for the court as they can in this situation. “We have recorded a couple videos for the Historical Society, practiced our program, and even had a couple ‘mini parades’ –always staying 6 feet apart of course! They are also hoping for a one-day festival on August 1 if things are back to normal by then,” said Bolt.

Although being on the Tulip Court this year is not turning out how the girls anticipated, they are choosing to remain positive and thankful. “We have received a lot of cards from past queens and courts. This was really sweet, because it just reminded us that we aren’t going to be forgotten despite the circumstances, and that going through all the hard work we have done isn’t for nothing. These notes told us that we have a family behind us that is supporting us no matter where we are,” said Gritters. 

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