Community Profile: Orange City, Iowa

By Emily Anderson

The European feel of Orange City, Iowa, was a pleasant surprise for both Baladino and Le Vent Du Nord during their residencies as part of the 2013–2015 season of Arts Midwest World Fest. Orange City is a small community of 6,004 residents located in northwestern Iowa. It is the seat of Sioux County, and in addition to headquartering several major companies, it is home to Northwestern College, a small liberal arts college known for a strong theater department.

Originally named “Holland,” Orange City was founded in 1870 by Dutch settlers and was later renamed to honor the Dutch prince William of Orange. Evidence of their former country’s influence can be seen in the Dutch gables of historic downtown buildings, signage in Dutch as well as English, and decorative shutters with a distinctive red and white hourglass design.

Two abundant rows of colorful tulips
Tulip Fest 05 by Mark Evans, CC BY-ND 2.0

As a celebration of its heritage, Orange City holds an annual Tulip Festival the third weekend of May. The festival lasts for three days and includes a Volksparade, featuring many residents dressed in 19th century Dutch costumes with distinctive white caps and wooden shoes.

Fun Fact

In downtown Orange City, there are six scale models of molens, or windmills, from different periods of Dutch history.

Windmill in Orange City
Orange City Windmill. Photo by Chris Van Pelt CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Community Partner

Orange City Arts Council

Orange City’s arts culture thrives year round, with theater, music, and fine art all embraced and supported by the community. Our community partner, Orange City Arts Council, works to bring art and artists to the community as well as showcasing local talents.

For this season of Arts Midwest World Fest, they worked with public and private schools in the area to provide as many students as possible the opportunity to enjoy a workshop or concert with the ensembles. With a strong background in arts education for youth and adults through classes and school residencies, free outdoor concerts, and high quality theater, the Orange City Arts Council has kept the arts accessible to the community since it was founded in 1978.

Residency Dates

Le Vent Du Nord: November 10-16 2013
Baladino: March 23-29 2014
Paulo Padilha & Group: October 5-11 2014
Shanren: Spring 2015


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