By Cathy Lockman
What started as a small celebration with a Dutch dinner and makeshift Dutch costumes has become a popular celebration in this small town along the Mississippi River in Northwestern Illinois.
Celebrating its 39th year, the two-day celebration known as Fulton Dutch Days Festival takes place the first weekend of May. The Dutch dinner of spiced roast beef, potato dishes, carrots, cabbage and Dutch pastries serves as a key element of the celebration, as does the parade that began the second year.
Barb Mask, the daughter of Dutch immigrants, has been a member of the Dutch Days committee almost since its inception. She says the event gives attendees the opportunity to enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities. It also highlights area attractions, such as de Immigrant Windmill, the Windmill Cultural Center and nearby Heritage Canyon, where volunteers take visitors back in time by demonstrating early American crafts such as candle making and broom making.
In addition to the parade and dinner, Dutch Days features nearly 100 arts and crafts vendors, musical programs and Dutch dancing, a tractor show and an area for children, complete with petting zoo, train and pony rides, and various games and activities.
“This is an opportunity for us to celebrate our Dutch heritage and share it with others,” says Mask.