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Touch of Dutch - How it all began

Newspaper photo of weaving demonstration

Did you know the first annual Touch of Dutch Arts & Crafts Festival was started by the Friends of the DeMotte Library 39 years ago on August 16, 1975? The Friends wanted to find a way to benefit the DeMotte Library and give local artists and craftsmen a place to display their talents.

Fifty artists and craftsmen participated in the first festival. Exhibit space rented for $5 and concession space for $10. Over 2,000 visitors came and enjoyed the events. The Friends were able to make a profit of $268 to help support the library.

The first festival committee consisted of Mary Van Soest, Jackie Debshaw, Jackie Marotta and Lynn Daugherty. The Friends of the DeMotte Library sponsored the festival from 1975-2005, except in 1978 when the Junior Women’s Club sponsored it. The DeMotte Chamber of Commerce then took over the sponsorship of the festival.

The parade was added in 1976 and was organized by Chuck and Yvonne DelVecchio. In 1979 the Jaycees began sponsoring the parade. Then in 1981 the DeMotte Chamber of Commerce started organizing the parade and continues to do so.

The Rotary Ramble was first run in 1981 and was organized by Charlene Groet. This 5K run with wooden shoe prizes was very popular and continues to be a great success. 

It takes a multitude of volunteers to make this annual event fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. The DeMotte community shows its pride in this small hometown each second Saturday in August, and will again this year on Aug. 9. Check out what makes this a great place to live! Won’t you join us?

In this KV Post photo, Linda Weghorst of Kouts demonstrates drop shuttle weaving to spectators at the first Arts & Crafts fair in 1975.