Cedar Grove, Wisconsin Memorial Park 70th Annual: July 28 - 29, 2017

Wooden Shoes
Please refer to this wonderful article written about Bob Siegel and his recent retirement from wooden shoe making. His protege, Luke Traver, will be carrying on the tradition at this years festival! The information found below will remain for the time being as a historical reference. We will miss you Bob!

Klompen, the traditional wooden shoes worn by the Dutch, are donned for dancing, street scrubbing and a children's race at the Holland Festival. The roomy wooden shoes were originally worn by the Dutch to work in the fields where they protected them from the cold and the moisture.

It may be a dying art, but at the Holland Festival you can watch "Sieg," our resident Klompenhouwer, carve a pair by hand, custom-fitting them to your feet. Most of the wooden shoes available today are made in automated factories. The Klompen Dansers, many of the younger generation, will tell you that they are really quite comfortable, and the younger ones actually run races in them (Friday afternoon). But they will also admit to wearing multiple pairs of socks or even sponges in their shoes.

The Cedar Grove Klompen Dancers perform in Memorial Park throughout the festival and are a highlight of the pre-parade Main street events on Saturday afternoon. Klomping down the street to accordion music is said to be reminiscent of Dutch ancestors congregating on old cobblestone streets to attend a village event or church gathering. Don't miss the boy-girl antics portrayed by the stage dancers or the lines of adorable Kinderklossers (youngsters) that precede the parade on Main Street!

Cedar Grove residents pride themselves on the cleanliness and neatness of their community. During the Holland Festival, residents of all ages take to the street in costume to participate in the ceremonial street scrubbing. Armed with "Old Dutch" cleanser, an assortment of brooms, and water from wooden barrels or buckets, they scrub the pavement until the Burgemeister (village president) declares it clean. Only then do the Klompen Dancers kick up their heels.

These festivities take place on Main Street at following the street scrubbing. Find a good curbside seat and enjoy the unique atmosphere. And be sure to stay for the parade!
Bob "Sieg" Siegel, JR - Klompen Maker (Woodenshoe Carver)
Sieg is the last master woodenshoe carver in America - He currently has 2 men starting apprenticeships.

Credentials: Learned the craft in the Netherlands in 1975, 1981 & 1987 from twelve of the most skilled carvers.

Diploma from the Netherlands Woodenshoe carving school.

Featured on the P.B.S. TV series "The Woodwright Shop" and in many major papers, and in "Fine Woodworking" Magazine.

Demonstrated Klompen Carving at dozens of events, including: International Festivals in Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Toledo, St. Paul, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Dutch Festivals in Illinois, New York, Teas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington. Busch Gardens Festival, Williamsburg, VA. Dollywood theme park, Pigeon Forge, TN. Neiman Marcus Holland Promotion, White Plains, N.Y. Marriott Hotel Holland Fest, San Diego, CA.

Historical Summary: In the lowlands of Europe over the past five centuries, woodenshoes evolved from the sandal, because solid wood keeps feet dry and clean. They are called Klompen in the Netherlands (Because of the Klomp Klomp sound on brick streets), Holzschuhe in Germany and Sabot in France. Three million pair are still made each year from handcarved models, of Aspen, a biodegradable and renewable resource. About a half million people wear Klompen each day.

Celebrating the St. Nicholas custom, children leave carrots in Klompen at night, for his white horse. This benefactor of children, then leaves gifts for the well behaved.

Personal Summary: Initial interest was sparked by discovery of a set of antique woodenshoe carving tools, in 1969. Sieg carves two or three pairs a day, starting with a fresh cut Aspen log. The craft is not just maneuvering the three primitive tools, but in efficiently and accurately shaping the wood to fit the foot. Sieg enjoys carving because of a desire to help preserve these nearly extinct skills, his wife's Dutch Heritage, and the opportunity to meet many interesting people.

More information:
Phone Sieg at (262) 242-1571
or write him at:
Crafts Museum
11458 N. Laguna Dr.
Mequon, WI 53092

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