I have been attending a grief counseling zoom class online for the last few weeks and one thing they talked about last week was self care. You have to do things to try and bring yourself joy…or at least a little break from all the grief. It could be something as easy as getting your nails done, or for me, going on a photoshoot. I signed up with a local travel company to take a bus to Orange City, Iowa this past Friday. There was a tour guide and we were fed a Dutch meal upon our arrival. There was almost 40 of us on the tour bus from Omaha. I went alone…just me and my camera. I was curious to learn about the Dutch Tulip Festival. Having been to the Netherlands a few times and having lived in Norway for 3 years, I thought this would be pretty interesting. I got to take lots of photos of tulips, the Straatfest (like a fashion show of old world native costumes), street scrubbing, and Volksparade. There is a senior who is nominated as the Tulip Queen each year. This year was Queen Naomi’s year. There is only about 6000 people in Orange City and I think all of them were in the parade. After the straatfest, the bergermeister (or mayor of the town) comes through the streets with some other town council folks and inspect the street for cleanliness. The streets have to be cleaned for the Tulip Queen and her court for the parade. The boys throw buckets of water on the street and the girls use scrub brushes to clean. I have to mention at this point that the temperatures did not get out of the 50’s and there was a pretty brisk cold breeze as well. Some of these young boys were SOAKED. I think every kiddo was there dancing or singing. Most of their parents and grandparents were there dancing as well. I also spent some time walking around and taking photos of their late-blooming tulips and replica windmills. I also learned how they make the famous wooden shoes that everyone was wearing. The Orange City Marching Dutchmen, their award winning high school marching band, march in those wooden clogs. I was amazed! The noise was incredible. Anyhow, this was my 12 hours of grief therapy and I captured several photos of families and flowers enjoying a cool May Friday.