Name: Naomi Mellema

Parents: Matt and Kristin Mellema

Hobbies & Interests: I have a variety of hobbies and interests. In the summer, I enjoy boating with my family at Spirit Lake. We have fun skiing, wakeboarding, surfing, and tubing! My dad, brothers, and I also enjoy fishing, which we are able to do for a week every summer in Northern Minnesota.  Another hobby of mine is spending time with kids. Whether its hanging out with my five younger siblings, playing with neighborhood kids, babysitting, or helping with the children’s ministries at my church, I love getting to experience the joy that kids bring to my life!

School Activities: I attend Unity Christian High School. In the past I have been involved in volleyball, basketball, cross country, track, choir, and yearbook at Unity. Currently I am involved as a track manager and Living Group leader, in which I help lead a group of about 20 students in devotions and games every Wednesday morning.

Spare Time Activities: Some of my favorite spare time activities include reading, baking, making bracelets, and spending time with family and friends. With my family I enjoy going on bike rides and playing board and card games. Some of our favorites are Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Dutch Blitz! My friends and I enjoy having bonfires, swimming at Hyman’s Pit, stargazing, and shopping together. Some of my spare time is also spent working, as I help clean an office building here in Orange City all year-round, and in the summer I babysit and work for Backyard Bounce. 

Education/Career Plans: Currently I am not sure of my future education and career plans. Some paths that interest me are business, graphic design, and human resources. I’m looking forward to seeing where God leads me in the next few years!

Past Tulip Festival Participation: I’ve enjoyed being able to participate in past Tulip Festivals in a variety of ways! My first few Dutch celebrations were in Pella, as I lived there until I was four. At the Orange City Tulip Festival I had the opportunity to be a page when I was in 1st grade and saw a glimpse of the joys and responsibilities that come with being on the Court! I participated in the OCCS middle school marching band by playing flute and doing baton. In high school, I was able to help as a baton coach. In addition, I’ve participated in Dutch games, Dutch dance, walking in the Straatfest, scrubbing streets, and riding floats.

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

I am so so excited to be a part of the 2022 Tulip Court! It is such an honor to be able to not only represent my town, but also my family, school, and church in this way. I am thrilled for this opportunity to meet new people and make memories while celebrating the town and heritage that I love the most!

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

Tulip Festival has been a big part of my life over the years! While most people are counting down the days until Christmas or their birthday, I am constantly counting down the days until Tulip Festival. I had the opportunity to be one of the pages in 2011 and was able to see a few of the joys and responsibilities that come along with being on the Court. I’ve also enjoyed scrubbing streets, riding floats, dutch dancing, marching in the OCCS marching band, being a baton coach in the OCCS marching band, and of course eating lots of Dutch food at the festival over the years!

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

I’ve had the desire to be on the Tulip Court ever since I was little! I remember the excitement of going to the Tulip Pageant every November with my mom, then seeing the Court months later in their beautiful costumes on the special float at Tulip Festival. I’ve always looked up to the Tulip Queen and Court. I’ve had many babysitters, family friends, and girls from my church who were able to be on the Court and shined such a positive light on the experience, which is why I decided to run for Tulip Court this year!

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

To me, the Dutch Heritage of our community is important because it holds us together. Even thought we aren’t all Dutch by blood, our Dutch values and faith unite us. For three days every Spring during Tulip Festival, we are able to celebrate our Dutch Heritage together, with people that we might not have the opportunity to interact with regularly. We welcome everyone into our town with open arms and invite them to adopt our Dutch heritage and values.

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

I am so thankful to the community for this opportunity! I am also thankful to the city for the ways that they invest in the Court each year, allowing us to grow in our leadership skills and our knowledge and appreciation of our Dutch heritage.