The annual Orange City Tulip Festival Extravaganza was held Wednesday, March 11, at Prairie Winds Event Center. The event featured a luncheon and program during which the 2020 parade marshal was introduced.
For over 41 years, Duane Feekes committed his professional career to the City of Orange City. Specifically, from 1997 to 2019, Duane served as Orange City’s City Administrator, playing an important role with many Tulip Festival committee members, assisting with the successful planning and operation of our annual Tulip Festival. Often referred to as our festival’s unsung heroes, the city staff under Duane’s leadership played a vital role in providing a clean, hospitable and accommodating environment for our annual three-day festival year after year.
“As a festival committee, we are truly thankful for the cooperation that Duane has fostered between the City of Orange City and the Orange City Tulip Festival,” say Reese and Cristi Kelch, 2020 Tulip Festival Chairpersons. “As we prepare for our 80th Tulip Festival celebration, and as the city celebrates its 150th anniversary, Duane’s leadership and stewardship of our community is a true reflection of this year’s festival theme, ‘Vibrant Together.’”
Duane’s involvement with the Tulip Festival began well before his time as the city administrator, however. He started working for the city of Orange City in 1978, and his festival volunteer efforts also began at that time as the campground and shuttle coordinator. He then worked with the promotions committee, making pins for Tulip Festivals in the 80s and 90s.
For Duane, the festival has always been a family affair, as much as a city responsibility. Duane’s wife, Marilyn, has sewn costumes for him and their family since the early 80s. Duane’s children Emily, Amanda, Katie and Evan participated in many facets of the Festival during their school years, making it an important part of their life in Orange City. As a family, they have participated in Mode Shows, street scrubbing, float riding and the Dutch Heritage Walk. Duane has also made poffertjes, helped at the Century Home and, of course, inspected the streets with the Mayor and City Council to determine if they were clean enough for the Queen prior to the festivals’ Volksparades.