PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been 3 years since there’s been a Rose Festival parade in Portland. But the 2022 parade will be the first in 74 years to be entirely on the east side of the city.
This year, because of public safety and other resource issues, the Rose Festival parade will start at Veterans Memorial Coliseum and end near the Lloyd Center. The last time the parade was entirely on the east side of Portland was 1948, when the Vanport Flood forced the route to change.
“It has been since 2019 since we’ve put a big parade on the streets of Portland, so we are super excited to be back,” said the Rose Festival’s Marilyn Clint. “The City of Portland is challenged with resources, just like Rose Festival is, and we want to make prudent use of the resources that we have.”
The popular Starlight Parade will remain on the west side of the river, and it will start an hour earlier than in the past.
The return of the parades mark the highlight of a Rose Festival tradition that began in 1905, when Portland hosted a World’s Fair in what is now the Northwest Industrial District. The Lewis and Clark Exposition attracted nearly 2 million visitors from all over the world.
It was such a success that then-Mayor Harry Lane decided to keep the party going every year.
“He gave some of his own money to get it started,” Clint said.
The first Rose Festival was in 1907 and it’s been Portland’s premier civic event ever since. Back then local business leaders encouraged Portlanders to grow roses all over town to create a national identity.
And it worked.
That is why Portland is The Rose City.
The return of the parades is a comeback to a tradition that’s lasted more than a century. It’s also a welcome return to a celebration that helps define Portland as a city.
The 2022 Rose Festival begins May 27 as City Fair returns to Waterfront Park. The Starlight Parade is June 4 with the Grand Floral Parade June 11. Many Rose Festival events are returning this year, including the popular Dragon Boat Races.