|Portland Rose Festival|
Waterfront Village in
Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
|Begins||late May or early June|
|Ends||mid-June (2-3 weeks after starting)|
|Attendance||1.2 million (2011)|
|Patron(s)||Portland Rose Festival Association|
The Portland Rose Festival is an annual civic festival held during the month of June in Portland, Oregon. It is organized by the volunteer non-profit Portland Rose Festival Association with the purpose of promoting the Portland region. It includes three separate parades, along with a number of other activities.
The Grand Floral Parade is the centerpiece of the festival and the second largest all-floral parade in the United States after the Tournament of Roses Parade. More than 500,000 spectators line the route, making this flower parade the largest single-day spectator event in Oregon. The first parade, in 1907, was called the Rose Carnival, but eventually came to be known as the Rose Festival Parade and later still the Grand Floral Parade. The 1907 festival also included an "electric parade" with illuminated floats; this evolved into the Merrykhana Parade but after a two-season suspension was renamed the Starlight Parade in 1976.
Since 1930 a queen has been selected from a court of high school seniors from each school in the area. The members of the court are called princesses. For a brief period starting in 1997 they were officially called "ambassadors", but the term "princesses" was reinstated in January 2007. A college scholarship is awarded to a 14-member "royalty". Starting in 2009, the Rose Festival Foundation opened one place on the court to someone from a school outside the Portland city limits. There are drivers for the Princesses, who are chosen from each high school. The first African American driver (escort) was Sam Whitney from Benson High School in 1954. A Junior Rose Festival, focused on children, began unofficially in 1921, on the city's east side, and included its own parade and junior court. It became an official part of the Rose Festival in 1936. The festival's annual Junior Parade takes place in the city's Hollywood district. The Junior Parade has grown to an event involving nearly 10,000 children, making it the world's largest parade for children.
The festival also hosts the Starlight Parade, a fireworks display, and carnival rides along the Portland waterfront, among other events. Dragon boat races on the Willamette River have been included every year since 1989.
An addition to the Rose Festival celebrations is Plunderathon, a pirate-themed roving festival that typically starts at Skidmore Fountain and is intended as a non-family-friendly way for locals to recover from the Rose Festival.
An air show was added to the Rose Festival in 1988 and remained part of the festival through 2002. Held at the Hillsboro Airport, it was named the Rose Festival Air Show, with the name generally preceded by a sponsor's name, but after the 2002 and 15th show the Rose Festival Association decided to discontinue its relationship with the event. In 2003, the show was reorganized as the Oregon International Air Show, with different sponsors and no longer a Rose Festival event.
From 2007 to 2016, the festival began with the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade. In 2017, this parade was cancelled after a group calling themselves "antifascists" threatened to disrupt a Multnomah County Republican Party group participating the march.
Every Rose Festival parade includes several marching bands.
The Budweiser Clydesdales are a frequent participant.
Queen's float in the 2010 Starlight Parade
Float in the Starlight Parade
Spectacular all-floral floats bring fantasy to life for a half million parade fans along Oregon's largest single-day spectator event, the Grand floral Parade. ...