HOLIDAY PARADE BRINGS JOY
For children in the Netherlands, the most exciting day of the year is Dec. 5 when Sinterklaas brings them their much-anticipated presents.
The evening Sinterklaas is due to arrive in the Netherlands, the children will leave a shoe by the fireplace or a windowsill and sing songs about Sinterklaas, hoping for presents that night. The story is that Sinterklaas rides a white horse across the rooftops while his helper, Zwarte Piet, shimmies down the chimneys to deliver the presents.
In Orange City, there is an annual event called Sinterklaas Dag, where children from around the city can celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas and his helper Piet.
The event takes place the first weekend of December, and will be at 10 a.m. Sat., Dec. 3.
The kids show up in the morning to hear stories and a short history about Sinterklaas and Piet, then get to meet the duo during a parade. The parade starts by Windmill Park and goes down Main Street, ending at town hall.
Sinterklaas and Piet arrive in a horse-drawn buggy the kids get to walk behind with a brass quartet. Once the parade arrives at town hall, the kids are able to watch a puppet show about Sinterklaas and Piet, then play various games like “Drop the Carrot,” memory and “Schieten Noten” (a combination of marbles and shuffle board).
After the games have been completed, everyone sings a goodbye song to Sinterklaas and Piet.
This day would not be possible without various volunteers, including Northwestern students. Each year, around 10-30 volunteers are needed to walk with the kids during the parade, watch and perform the puppet show, lead the games and overall bring energy and excitement to the day.
Senior education major Aubree Strausbaugh has helped with the event for the past four years.
“I was a science major my freshman year, then changed to education at the end of that year,” Strausbaugh said. “The department introduced this opportunity to volunteer my sophomore year, so I decided to sign up with a friend.”
Since Strausbaugh is a volunteer veteran, she also helps with recruiting other volunteers.
“This year, I’m inviting a lot of my friends and other people in education,” Strausbaugh said. “I’ll also post sign-up sheets around the dorms and email people as reminders.”
Strausbaugh loves the annual event, and has enjoyed seeing the kids grow up for the past four years.
“My favorite part of the morning is the puppet show story of Sinterklaas that the kids get to see,” Strausbaugh said. “It’s cheesy but really cute how they tell it.”
If anyone is interested in volunteering to help at this event, contact Strausbaugh, Peer Learning Center science coordinator Randy Van Peursem, communications professor Ann Minnick or religion professor Kathy Gabel. For volunteering, one will receive two coupons for free poffertjes.