Discovering the treasures
In July 1971, Bonnie Fraam met the love of her life, a kindhearted man from a small town in West Michigan. Married in 1972, the Fraams returned to Michigan shortly thereafter to raise their family and put down roots in the vibrant community they would come to call home. Quickly, their family embraced the tradition of Tulip Time. Over the years, Bonnie’s children and grandchildren have played their roles in the festival—first as Dutch street scrubbers in the Kinderparade, then as Dutch Dancers and members of the band. Bonnie fondly recalls setting up chairs each year in front of The Warm Friend, where her husband worked, to sit with a merry group of residents and watch their children pass by in the parade. Today, Bonnie finds joy in playing a more active role in the festival herself—serving at the welcome desk, selling tickets for Tulip City Tours and assisting with Pedal the Provinces. For Bonnie, each aspect of the festival represents a treasured piece of Holland’s beauty and heritage. When tourists ask, Bonnie insists everyone visit Windmill Island, which she describes as an experience unlike any other. After all, Holland’s windmill is the only functional windmill in America, sent over after WWII, the scars of Nazi bullets riddled through its blades. Holland is full of stories from a time long passed but still celebrated, and Bonnie continues to cherish discovering those treasures.
“Downtown Holland is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived in a lot of big cities, and it is so telling that a small town festival like ours has gained world-renown. I am so proud to call myself a Hollander.”
Tulip Time Volunteer