Name: Chloe Bilby

Parents: Joe & Becky Bilby

Hobbies & Interests: I enjoy; painting, embroidery, baking, babysitting, and youth group.

School Activities: I’m involved in, band, orchestra, large group speech, the fall productions, and student council.

Spare Time Activities: Some things I love doing are, stargazing, spending time with family and friends, working at Brad’s Breads, or Joie, attend youth group events, leading a Bible study, and getting coffee and chatting with people.

Education/Career Plans: I plan on attending the University of South Dakota. I will major in health sciences, and then proceed to graduate school to become an occupational therapist. 

Past Tulip Festival Participation: I’ve been in the festival since second grade, whether it was on a float, scrubbing streets, dutch games, dutch dozen, or marching with the POD band.

How do you feel about being a part of the Tulip Festival Court?

I am ecstatic not only for the third weekend in May but also for the events leading up to it. Representing this town is something I look forward to doing and cannot wait to make  memories that’ll last a lifetime. It’s already been an experience I know I’ll never forget. The girls on the court are amazing and I know we’re going to have so much fun while we serve our community! I’ve looked up to so many influential girls who have served on the past courts with intention and compassion for their community. It’s an honor to be chosen by my community for such an important role. I cannot wait to represent the town I have grown up in and love.

How has Tulip Festival been a part of your life over the years?

Tulip Festival is a time of tradition; whether it’s getting a specific type of food, going on the rides, or being in the parade there are tradition and memories. Whatever stage of life I’m in Tulip Festival has always been fun and special for me. I’ve always loved everything from getting poffertjes to just walking around with my family and running into people we don’t normally see. I also love seeing all the Dutch costumes, culture and tradition that gets put together. It always makes me excited in preparation for Tulip Festival thinking of the wonderful food, parade, and memories that are soon to come. Seeing people that I know in the community has always been a highlight as well. Whether it was the kids I babysit, people from school, or church it always made me smile to see them in the crowd. I made sure to always look for my family whenever I’d go by and give them a smile or a wave. I love that Tulip Festival truly brings our community together through culture and tradition.

Why did you decide to run for Tulip Queen/Court?

Walking around Tulip Festival it’s hard to miss the Tulip Queen and her Court go by. I remember taking pictures with Kenzie Mulder-Achterhoff when I was younger and thinking she was the coolest girl ever because she was the Tulip Queen. That was when I started to hope to be on Tulip Court. Since then, I have followed the courts and truly have seen how influential those girls can be; not only by how I was influenced but how the entire community is and how they represent the town. When I was a sophomore one of my best friends, Sophie Swart, served on the court and despite COVID-19, she told me how it was an unforgettable experience. Even though I already have been a part of the Tulip Festival, I wanted to serve my community and be an influential leader for the younger girl that I once was. I am already honored to be on the court and hope to represent the town as well as the girls ahead of me have.

What does the Dutch Heritage of this community mean to you?

While obviously not being Dutch I am aware of how important and special the Dutch Heritage is to this community. I think that it is both amazing and unique how well we’ve held onto this heritage and culture. It’s something that unifies our community while also bringing something unique that most communities don’t have. The Dutch Heritage is prevalent here, but not exclusive. Growing up as a non-Dutch girl that didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes I was aware that I wasn’t the same as the majority of the girls but I never felt alone. While not having a last name that starts with “Van” I still was able to experience the culture and traditions that the Dutch have upheld. I truly believe the Dutch Heritage brings our community together more than symbolizes genetic heritage. At Tulip Festival it highlights the Dutch culture but day to day it more brings families together. I love that our community comes together to celebrate their genetic heritage and culture; as well as unifying those not of Dutch descent to create a family dynamic in our community.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

Being adopted from China and being raised by the best parents I could’ve asked for I wanted to thank not only my family but the entire community. This community has brought me in and welcomed me as their own. My family doesn’t have any other immediate grandparents, or cousins that live near here but I’ve never felt insecure about that. I’ve been brought in by numerous families as their own and have never felt more loved or accepted. Coming from literally across the country I have never felt more at home. Orange City will forever be my home and I’m so thankful to live in a community as welcoming as this….yet, at the same time, holding their traditions and heritage to a high standard.