Volunteers bring Rose Festival floats to life

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Volunteers brushed pink coconut one paint stroke at a time onto the Unitus Community Credit Union entry for this weekend’s Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. When you see the float with the Rose Festival Court riding on it this Saturday you’ll catch a brief glimpse at a piece of moving art that has taken a team of volunteers weeks and weeks to put together. 

For the many volunteers who put the time in to create the masterpieces parading trough Portland it’s a labor of love. For long time volunteers like retired teacher Dave Cohen, the work is like a dream come true.

Volunteer to decorate floats 

Cohen will lead the Alaska Airlines float.

“I’ll direct the drivers through the parade route on Saturday and I’ll see the faces in the crowd and a kid will say, ‘Oh! Look at that Koala bear or look at that whale or look at that and their smile is this wide,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.” 

There are literally thousands of details on these floats, from acorn shells to pink coconut powder. All materials adorning the floats are plant based — cracked wheat, rapeseed and rice powder. It all goes on a little bit at a time. 

Linnea Coon has volunteered for 21 years. She takes a week vacation every year this week just to work on the floats.  

“I spend from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. I just do it. I have to take a break, but I do it. I love it.”

The 2019 Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on June 8.

The 2019 Rose Festival route as seen on their website, June 3, 2019

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