For some folks, dandelions in the lawn are a less-than-welcome sign of spring. But in the one-church town of Borculo, Mich., the yellow-flowered weeds bring big fun.
Borculo Christian School students ride in the Dandelion Festival parade.
For over a decade, Borculo Christian Reformed Church has made the increasingly popular Dandelion Festival blossom each May, often attracting 3,000 to 4,000 people.
“We wanted to do it as an outreach for Bible school,” said festival coordinator Bev Machiela, “to get the area kids comfortable at our church, to get their parents comfortable.”
Although many festival-goers contribute free-will donations, everything the church runs is free, from a community pancake breakfast to children’s carnival activities to hot dogs and all-you-can-eat popcorn. “We can serve 2,000 hotdogs in an hour,” said Machiela. A highlight is the Dandelion Parade, with over 70 entries this year. Borculo Christian School also puts on a fundraiser barbecue dinner and a Fun Run during the weekend.
The church takes early VBS sign-ups during the festival and will canvas door-to-door in neighborhoods in the summer. People have been much friendlier and more receptive to canvassers since the church began running the festival, Machiela said. “The difference is huge.” They have also seen an increase in the number of children without a home church who attend the Bible school.
Putting on the weekend extravaganza is no small feat for the church. “For us to take on something like this is kind of stepping out,” said Machiela. One hundred volunteers, most from the congregation and their extended families, as well as local businesses and others in the community, help make it possible year after year.