FULTON – Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to Fulton for decades.
Whether it be Trudy’s 27-year commitment to teaching at River Bend School District, Bob’s 33-year career with Fulton-born company Agri-King Inc., or their volunteer work, it is clear the two live and breathe Fulton.
That’s why they’ve been named grand marshals for the 40th annual Dutch Days Festival parade. The festival is May 2-4, with the parade slated to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3.
“They exemplify what being a grand marshal is,” Dutch Days committee chairwoman Barb Mask said.
Growing up in Garden Plain, Bob is familiar with the area and the culture of Fulton, and although Trudy is a native of Waupun, Wis., she, too, understands the deep Dutch heritage and tight-knit community that Fulton represents.
“There are many ties between Waupun and Fulton,” Trudy said. “There is a deep Dutch heritage there as well, so it’s been something I’ve always been surrounded by.”
Not only did she grow up in a Dutch community and now lives in a Dutch community, but she, Bob and their two children also attended college in Pella, Iowa, and often frequent Pella’s Tulip Time Festival, another tradition steeped in Dutch heritage.
The Dutch connection isn’t why the committee chose the Feldts, though. It’s because of their selflessness and dedication to the community.
“Many times, the committee will select a name that is submitted by someone else,” Mask said. “Anyone can submit a name, but sometimes we don’t know all of what that person does for the community.
“While Bob and Trudy oftentimes do what they do under the radar, we happen to know a lot, because of all they do for Dutch Days.”
Bob and Trudy have been heavily involved in the festival since 1978. Street scrubbing, Dutch dancing, the style show ... there’s a little bit of their work in every celebration. This year, Trudy put together more than 50 costumes to be used during the weekend event.
She remembers when she began volunteering with the festival.
“I have a collection of all the spoons from 1978 to 2013,” she said. “Each year, they give the volunteers a spoon, and I have every one of them.”
Dutch Days doesn’t get all the the Feldts’ time. Both volunteer at the Windmill Cultural Center and de Immigrant windmill, Trudy as an education committee member and Bob as a volunteer miller; both are part of the Downtown Retail Development Corp., and both are active members in the Second Reformed Church of Fulton.
“It’s fun volunteering,” Trudy said. “As long as we can, we’ll continue to do the things that we do.”