1910 Rose Festival Postcard Courtesy Oregon Historical Society
Portland Rose Festival
25-day rose festival bursts into bloom each June, celebrating the
City of Roses with parades and entertainment for all ages and
Oregon's premier civic celebration has been a
Northwest tradition since 1907, but its roots reach back to 1837,
when the first rose bush was imported. These beautiful flowers
flourished in the Portland climate. In 1889, the Rose Society held
its first rose show in a tent. In 1904, the society began holding a
"fiesta" with its annual exhibit. In 1904, it added a parade, which
included decorated surreys and four automobiles.
In 1907, the floral parade was accompanied by a
two-day festival to celebrate the rose, and the "Portland Rose
Carnival and Fiesta" was born. Never before had an American
community dedicated an annual festival to the beauty of a rose.
Following in 1907, ten businessmen formally organized the Portland
Rose Festival into a nonprofit civic enterprise to plan and
refinance the next event. One thousand shares of capital stock were
sold for $10 per share.
Since 1931, the festival's queen has been a high
school senior chosen from a court of members representing each high
school. Festival royalty consists of the queen and 13 court
members. The festival association awards each royal member with a
college scholarship. By 2000, $400,000 had been distributed through
the scholarship program. Parades remain the star attraction of the
Portland Rose Festival. The grand parade is the second largest
all-floral parade in the country, drawing an audience of half a
million people along the parade route and reaching 20 million more
viewers by national television broadcast. Other events include the
state's largest airshow, cart races, dragon boat races, milk cart
boat races, and a festival of bands.
Documentation includes a text report, promotional
literature, historic photographs, a video, and a tape and book, For you a Rose Grows in Portland, documenting the
Originally submitted by: Gordon Smith, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.