As Oregon's most popular and beloved tradition, the Portland Rose Festival attracts about 500,000 visitors every year. It generally begin in early June (though some years it starts in late May) and runs from two to three weeks. It's been running nearly every year for more than a century, featuring a plethora of events around the historic Grand Floral Parade. With a Portland car rental, you can take part in block parties, dinners, tastings and parades offered during this extensive event. Learn more about the Portland Rose Festival and get ready for your trip to Oregon.
About the Portland Rose Festival
Dating back to 1907, this fest was established to celebrate the city's colorful floral displays. The first year of the fest was a humble affair, but it impressed the public with beautifully decorated floral floats that traveled throughout the city atop the trolley system of the time. It's gotten bigger and better since, and today it's a huge extravaganza that draws in crowds with food and drink, fireworks, floats and other features.
Roses have a special place in the heart of Portlanders, and it has since long before the festival began. The sweet-smelling bloom was first brought to the area in 1837, when poet and local sweetheart Anna Maria Pittman was given a rose bush as a wedding gift in 1907 (she married renowned missionary Jason Lee). Cuttings were taken from the bush and planted around the city - at its pioneer gardens, the Willamette University campus and Champoeg Park.
About the Grand Floral Parade
The centerpiece of the Portland Rose Festival is the Grand Floral Parade. Park your Oregon car rental and join the crowd as they watch in wonder as massive, colorful floats pass by along the parade route. It's among the oldest of its kind in the world, and it's the second biggest floral parade in America. Perhaps that's why Oregon touts it as its most beloved and popular event. The parade showcases about 20 floats, all made from flowers. There are more than 15 marching bands as well as majestic horses, vintage cars and dancers. Another intriguing feature is the annual king and queen of the parade - two students from locals high are chosen for these royal seats, and they're given scholarships as well as the opportunity to be part of the parade. It starts at Veteran Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter entertainment district, and it makes its way through the city's downtown streets for 4.3 miles, ending at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Multnomah Street.
Other festival activities
While in town for the parade, use your Portland Rose Festival rental car to check out some of the other activities happening during the fest. The grand celebration, which spans multiple weeks, features a wide variety of exciting events all across the city, from Parkrose down to Pleasant Valley. Visit the city's gardens and parks, including the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden, to see temporary displays and take part in special events. Those who are in town a week before the Grand Floral Parade can also catch the Starlight Parade, another intriguing procession that features glowing floats that illuminate the downtown streets.
Food and drink also play a big role in the fest. The Bite of Oregon features delights from some of the best eateries, wineries and breweries in town, while the Feast Portland lets you sit down for a tasty meal during a dinner party that raises funds to end hunger among kids in Oregon. At Art in the Pearl, which takes place every Labor Day Weekend, you can enjoy delicious food and drink while perusing works by local creators.