Utah’s Dutch Community Celebrates King’s Day

King’s Day celebration will take place on Saturday, April 27, at Millcreek Common. The event is an opportunity for the community to celebrate Dutch culture with a bike parade, Dutch games, food, and vendors.


The Dutch Social Club of Utah, in conjunction with The Old Dutch Store, is hosting a Koningsdag, or King’s Day, celebration, on Saturday, April 27, at Millcreek Common. The event is an opportunity for the community to celebrate Dutch culture with a bike parade, Dutch games, food, and vendors.

The King’s Day event is one that the community looks forward to all year. This is the Dutch Social Club of Utah’s third year hosting the celebration since the club was formed in 2022. 

“Our King’s Day Celebration is going to be a big orange party,” said Katie Reid, founder of the Dutch Social Club of Utah. “We kick off with a bike parade where people can decorate their bikes and dress up in orange. We have different Dutch vendors and we’ll serve Dutch food, have Dutch music playing, and all kinds of Dutch games.”

King’s Day Event featuring all sorts of Dutch games.

The Old Dutch Store was opened in 1978 by a Dutch couple. They started out selling authentic Dutch food, and Reid’s grandfather, Peter VanSchelt, who knew the couple, became the store’s butcher and sausage maker.

“My grandfather helped the original owner of The Old Dutch Store set up their deli counter,” Reid said. “He was going to work for just a couple of months but he just stuck around and never left. My family took it over in 2003 after the couple who originally owned the store retired. Now it’s just me and my mom, Sharon VanSchelt Wuolukka, running the place, and we’ve added many delicious Dutch foods to the menu, many of which will be sold at the King’s Day Celebration.”

“Customers would come into The Old Dutch Store and ask if there are groups they can socialize with,” said Reid, who also works there as a chef. 

“Some people tried to start some groups, but they wouldn’t allow non-Dutch speaking people into it, and those groups didn’t work out. I decided to start one in 2022 for everybody who wants to learn more about Dutch culture. You don’t have to have any ties to the country in order to join the club, and we want everyone to feel welcome.”

Each year, the club hosts two major events: Koningsdag in April, and  Sinterklaasfeest in December.

While Sinterklaasfeest has ancient origins with Christian roots, the holiday has become more secular and inclusive over time by combining folklore and gift-giving. It remains a beloved tradition in the Netherlands and Belgium, where it is widely enjoyed by people of various cultures. 

“My favorite part about these celebrations is the people,” said Reid. “I love seeing everybody get so excited about it and seeing the Dutch natives who come to the celebration who are here in America for school or work or something. It seems like it gives them a little piece of home.”

One of the highlights of the King’s Day Celebration is the bike parade. Families dress in orange to celebrate Dutch royalty and decorate their bicycles with orange decor. 

“Guests can sign up for the Bike Parade at the event,” Reid said. “It’s going to be free this year and we’re really looking forward to it. Those wanting to participate should wear orange, decorate their bikes with orange, and we will be awarding prizes for best decorated, best costume, youngest rider, oldest rider, and so forth.”

This year, a new child-friendly element will be added to the celebration called the Kinder Flea Market.

“Kids can come during the hours of 1-3 pm and lay out some things they’ve made, toys they want to sell, games they want people to play, or talents they want to perform,” said Reid. “This is a fun element of the King’s Day Celebrations that take place in the Netherlands, and we’re excited to bring it to our celebration as well. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July all mixed together. It’s a big national party.”

The King’s Day Celebration is expected to be a great success as the event is taking place at a new venue: Millcreek Common.

“We get a great turnout each year, so we’re excited to see what this year brings,” said Reid. “We’re really excited about our move to Millcreek Common. It is a new venue and we’re really happy to team up with Millcreek as they sponsor this event. It’s a better location, better parking, and in an area that’s easier to navigate than past locations.”

Sharon VanSchelt Wuolukka the owner of The Old Dutch Store at King’s Day Event.

Volunteers are a crucial aspect of the celebration, and Reid says they depend on volunteers to help this event run smoothly, and getting volunteers is often one of the most difficult parts of putting the King’s Day celebration together.

“Volunteers are always welcome,” said Reid. “It takes a lot of people to put this celebration on and we are grateful for all the volunteers we can get. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can sign up on the social club website.”

The King’s Day Celebration will take place from 11 am – 5 pm on Saturday, April 27 at Millcreek Common. Families with children of all ages are welcome to take part in this unique event.

“It’s just a good way to show people how to party like the Dutch,” said Reid. “It’s a good way to have some fun.”

*Photos by Katie Reid

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