Know Before You Go
The 2020 Portland Rose Festival has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Portland Rose Festival website.
In place of their annual parades and other activities, the festival organizers have created a new interactive virtual event, Parading in Place, which consists of the Porch Parade on May 16–30 and the Grand Petite Parade on June 30. For more information on the event and how to participate, please visit the festival website.
Every year for more than a century, the City of Roses* has thrown itself a massive party in the form of the Portland Rose Festival. Declared the city’s official festival in 2010, the celebration includes more than 60 events, starting in late May and ending with dragon boat races the second weekend of June. In between, there are parades, carnival rides, art shows, fun runs and more. (Best of all, everyone is invited!) For a full list of events and activities, check the festival’s website.
Know Before You Go
* Portland is known as the “City of Roses” because the weather is ideal for growing them. There are three fabulous rose gardens in Portland. The best-known is the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Whatever you do during Rose Festival, take time to smell the roses.
Portland Rose Festival Events in 2020
Note: The 2020 festival has been postponed. Please visit the Portland Rose Festival website for current dates.
Portland Rose Festival festival kicks off with a spectacular opening night fireworks show on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. For a great view, grab a seat on the Ferris wheel at CityFair, a celebration spanning three weekends at downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park. CityFair features carnival rides, food and beer and live music, along with a headlining performer that’s a guaranteed party starter.
The popular evening Starlight Parade features illuminated floats and a section with syncopated drummers and roller derby teams (and is preceded by a 5 km [3.1 mile] race, filled with runners dressed in costumes).
The festival’s hallmark event, the Grand Floral Parade travels from the Memorial Coliseum (where reserved seating is available), across the Willamette River and through downtown Portland, delighting crowds with around 20 all-floral floats, 18 marching bands and 19 equestrian units — in addition to vintage vehicles, colorful dancers and more.
For a closer look at the impressive floats (which are meticulously decorated with natural materials like seeds and coconut flakes in addition to flowers), check out the Grand Floral Float Showcase (adjacent to the CityFair) for two days following the parade.
A stroll along the waterfront will yield a much different view as the Portland Rose Festival has acted as a U.S. Port of Call for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy for over 80 years. Known as Fleet Week gigantic naval ships line the shore, giving visitors an up-close view of our nation’s seafaring military vessels and a chance to meet sailors, take on-board tours and learn about the U.S. Navy firsthand.
Get to the fragrant source at the Portland Rose Society Annual Spring Rose Show the nation’s largest and longest-running rose show, which brings more than 4,000 blooms to Lloyd Center in Northeast Portland.
Last but not least, the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races bring the party to the Willamette River as 60 local, national and international teams compete in ornate boats provided by the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association.
When the sun finally comes out, Portlanders celebrate their favorite things: music, beer, art and food.
Portland Parks & Recreation offers over 400 free events including free movie screenings, concerts and rock climbing.
Portlanders' pent-up desire for sun may explain our skill at making the most of summer's long days and warm nights with outdoor concerts.