Name: Kate Van Der Werff

Parents: Jeff and Kara Van Der Werff

Hobbies & Interests: Running, swimming, hiking, reading, baking, hammocking 

School Activities: Cross country, Speech, choir, band, play, Musial, NHS, track

Spare Time Activities: Working at Brads and the pool, hanging out with friends and family 

Education/Career Plans: Go to a four year college and hopefully get a pre physical therapy degree and go to grad school with a minor in missions 

Past Tulip Festival Participation: Dutch dance, Dutch Dozen, marching band, riding floats, scrubbing the streets, straat fest

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

Being able to be a part of the Tulip Festival Court is a true blessing. I am very excited about what the year holds for us, and I think that it will be a lot of fun. I will also get to learn a lot more than what I already know about Orange City, and I can’t wait. I hope that I can be a good ambassador for the town and show what our town really does represent.  I already know that it will be something that will always be a part of me and I will never forget it. It will forever keep me connected to this community. I am very grateful that I get the opportunity. I also hope that while I am on the court I can make a great connection with the other girls and that we can have a positive impact on those around us. Hopefully, I can help others to enjoy Tulip Festival. With this, I hope that I can do as much for this town as it has done for me. I am looking forward to being involved in many future festivals.

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

Tulip Festival has been something that has always been a part of my life growing up here. I have always been very involved. Ever since I was young I have gotten dressed up.  My American girl doll even had a Dutch costume and wooden shoes. I loved scrubbing the streets with my family.  Throughout elementary school, I took part in Dutch Games and Dutch Dance. I also would go ride on all sorts of different floats. Throughout my middle school years, I marched in the band and enjoyed many of the festivities, such as the rides and the food. Now in high school, I have continued to march in the band, except now in wooden shoes. Also, during the Tulip Festival, I take part in Dutch Dozen. I have loved being part of the Dutch Dozen for the last two years. I’ve enjoyed the group of girls and the chance to learn to sing in Dutch. The Dutch Dozen keeps me busy during the festival with our performances, Dutch dancing, and riding on our float. All of my years participating in the festival have been a lot of fun. I look forward to many more years of participation. With that, I also take part in Dutch Dance. I know that the rides are not very Dutch, but I love going to ride night to kick off the start of the festival.

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

Tulip Court was always something that I thought was so cool as a young girl. I thought that it would be something that would be so good to be involved in. I also wanted to do something that I had never done before and this would be very different. I have always been very involved and I thought this could be another thing that would be fun. My mom was also on the court when she was in high school and she had a really good time and enjoyed it so much. I wanted to be a part of something that is unique to our community and what we do here. It is also just a way that I can live out my Dutch heritage. With this opportunity, I would get to do some things that I have never done before and would not get the opportunity to do in other places. I hope that this can be a really enjoyable opportunity for me. Doing this also connects me to this town in so many more ways.

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

I am very Dutch.  My Dutch heritage comes from both sides of my family. The Dutch heritage is something that is so interesting about this community. I am very glad that our town chooses to keep its heritage alive. I love that so many people get involved in it and want to learn more about it every year. The festival connects so many people, and even if you are not Dutch you can still get involved in so much. It also kind of shows me how life used to be for people when we wear costumes or scrub the streets. I’m glad to be in a community that is so proud and also shows has Dutch fronts on many of our buildings.

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

As a person, I am someone who is busy. I am involved in lots of activities. In the summers I work at the pool. I enjoy teaching swimming lessons. There are so many kids that I get to know and grow connections with. It is always fun to see them around town. Since I also work at Brads Breads, I get to meet a lot of new people that way. Serving people is something that I love to do and I get to learn so many new things while I work there. In my other time, I spend it serving at my church or going to church activities. This year I am teaching first grade Sunday School. I have grown to get to know those kids so well and it is something that I normally don’t do. I am always up to help with new things. Youth group is also another activity that I go to during the week. I also take part in a lot of school activities. In the future, I plan to attend a four-year private Christian college. I am currently undecided on what I would like to go into, but pre-physical therapy is something that I have looked into and thought would be something I would enjoy. I want to be able to do something that helps other people.