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Let’s Talk Pella – Long Time Tulip Time Spieler to Hang It Up After 30 Years

Posted: Friday, May 5th, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Author: KNIA/KRLS News - Andrew Schneider

John S. De Vries interacts with visitors from Holland

An essential experience for those making their first-ever trip to Pella for Tulip Time is to take a wagon tour of the Tulip City.

For decades, spielers have been sharing information as visitors pass through the city by tractor. One man will complete his third decade of showcasing the community during the festival this weekend.

John S. De Vries wasn’t born in Pella, but it’s safe to say it’s home. For 30 years, De Vries has been a friendly face sharing stories you won’t hear from anyone else as he gives tours to those stopping by the city he loves for the first time.

De Vries stays driven to keep coming back as a spieler due to his love to interact with others.

“I just enjoy visiting with the people,” he says. “That’s my nature, I guess, but I like to answer people’s questions, and there are a lot of people that have questions about Pella, especially because it’s a unique community.”

However, as much as he loves to make visitors welcome, his career is drawing to a close. John says recent health issues will likely prevent him from doing what he loves after this year’s festival ends on Saturday. In fact, De Vries wasn’t sure he was going to make it for year number 30, but credits his heritage as giving him the will to share the stories he loves one more time.

“I hate to give it up, as a matter of fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to do it this year or not,” he says. “My wife told me, ‘there’s no way you’re going to make it this year,’ and I said, ‘you’ll just wait and see.'”

“I think the fact that I’m a Frisian, we are more determined in what we do, we don’t give up very quick, and when we decide to do something we will do it.”

Stop and see John De Vries at the city spieler wagons sponsored by Pella Rotary along Franklin Street east of the downtown square.