Portland, Oregon is known as the city of roses and you’ll see why by attending this year’s Rose Festival. From fireworks and carnivals, to parades and pageants, the city has celebrated everything rosey for over 100 years. Dozens of events are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through June 8, so be sure to enjoy all that the Rose City has to offer.
Opening night, May 23, 2014, kicks off with one of Oregon’s largest fireworks displays at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Thunderous pyrotechnics reflect in the calm waters of the Willamette River, and before and after the show you can enjoy CityFair. Also located at Waterfront Park, fair-goers enjoy exciting carnival rides and games, live music, food, beverages, exotic animal displays, a wide variety of shopping, and many other special attractions.
Since 1889, the Annual Spring Rose Show has offered an opportunity for any green thumb to enter their prize blooms in hopes of winning a trophy. On June 5 and 6, the largest and longest-running rose show in the nation transforms the Lloyd Center Ice Rink into a colorful indoor garden. Exquisite beauty and fragrance emanate from more than 4,000 blooms. Members of the Portland Rose Society are on hand to give free rose growing advice and assistance.
No festival would be complete without a parade— or in this case, three separate parades. The Grand Floral Parade, held this year on June 7 at 10:00 am, is the highlight and attracts thousands of viewers along its four-mile downtown route. Expect all-floral floats, marching bands, equestrian units, vintage vehicles, the Character Clown Corps, and much more. There are SO many flowers used on the parade floats that you could send your mother a dozen roses, every day, for 30 years! The Starlight Parade illuminates downtown streets from 9:00 – 11:00 p.m. on May 31 and offers funky, eclectic fun to spectators who gather along a 2.25-mile downtown route. All floats are flood-lit or glow-in-the-dark. A Junior Parade just for kids is June 4 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm in Portland’s Hollywood District. An official Rose Festival event since 1936, the Junior Parade is the nation’s oldest and largest children’s parade.
Additional Rose Festival events include the crowning of the queen and her court (the first Rose Festival Queen was elected in 1914), Fleet Week (visiting ships and submarines dock at Portland’s waterfront and offer free tours), various athletic events, and the colorful Dragon Boat Races. Held on the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge, the races feature exciting four-team heats held every nine minutes. More than 80 different teams – local, national and international – compete in beautiful boats.
You generally can’t say that “everything's coming up roses” in most cities, but you certainly can in Portland. See you at the Rose Festival!
For more information, visit the Portland Rose Festival official website for event dates, directions and details.