Portland Rose Festival

Portland Rose Festival
Photo: rosefestival.org
The climate of Portland with its warm, dry summers is ideal for growing roses, and Portland has been called “Rose City” or the “City of Roses” for over a century, the latter of which becoming its official nickname in 2003. The city even hosts the Portland Rose Festival that takes place annually in June and includes parades, races, fairground rides, and other events and attractions.

In 1905, Mayor Harry Lane advocated for a permanent rose festival in a speech at the end of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. The first Portland Rose Festival was held in 1907 and featured the Rose Carnival (now known as the Grand Floral Parade) and an “electric parade” with illuminated floats. Over the years, it has grown to become one of the biggest festivals in the United States (attendance over 1 million) and a major tourist attraction in the Portland region.

The main highlights of the Portland Rose Festival are its three parades. The Grand Floral Parade is the centerpiece of the festival. It is a colorful procession that marches along a 4.2 mile route through city streets. The parade features floral floats, equestrian units, marching bands, dancers, vintage vehicles, and other entries. The Starlight Parade is a nighttime parade with about 100 illuminated entries that light up downtown Portland. Finally, the Junior Parade is a fun and colorful event featuring children from all parts of the city.

A lot of exciting events are held at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. They include CityFair with carnival rides, food and entertainment, fireworks, concerts and the annual Dragon Boat Races, an exciting Chinese tradition brought to Portland over 25 years ago. The festival also hosts Fleet Week, a series of runs and walks, the Portland Rose Festival Foundation Dinner & Auction, a golf tournament, the Annual Spring Rose Show, the Rose City Sing-Off, the Milk Carton Boat Race, and other exciting events and activities.

The festivities are presided over the Rose Festival Queen. She is chosen from the members of the Rose Festival Court comprised of outstanding young women from local high schools. The Queen is crowned at the Queen's Coronation and represents the Portland Rose Festival for a year.

The Portland Rose Festival is one of the most loved and anticipated events in Oregon. It is known for its inspiring programming that embraces both the nostalgic and the contemporary and features dozens of events that bring smiles to the faces of both locals and guests.

Portland Rose Festival

Photo: Sam Churchill




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