Every year, the City of Roses* throws itself a big party, in the form of the Portland Rose Festival. The city’s official festival 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 and fun galore. (Best of all, everyone is invited!) For a full list of events and activities, check the festival’s website.
* 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
The festival proper kicks off with a spectacular fireworks show on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. For a great view, grab a seat on the Ferris wheel in the CityFair, which features carnival rides, food and beer and live music in downtown’s Waterfront Park, featuring a headlining performer that’s a guaranteed party starter.
The evening Starlight Parade features illuminated floats and a section with syncopated drummers and roller derby teams. 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, 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 (located adjacent to the CityFair) for two days.
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 river as 80 local, national and international teams compete in ornate boats provided by the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association.
Considered the “hub” of the annual Portland Rose Festival, CityFair fills Waterfront Park with carnival rides, concerts, food and fireworks for multiple weekends during the festival.
Portland Rose Festival features multiple parades, waterfront carnival rides, concerts, dragon boat races, fireworks and plenty of roses.
For more than 40 years, Portland’s Starlight Parade has offered funky, eclectic fun for everyone. From traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and unique hand-built entries, you’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups (and surrounding Northwest region) together in one whimsical pageant.
Since the very beginning of the Rose Festival back in 1907, visiting ships and other fleet-related elements (like submarines) have been making their way to Portland’s waterfront. The City of Portland is known to be a favorite port of call for military (and non-military) visitors — and citizens enjoy making these visitors welcome! One of…
This annual rose show is the nation’s largest and long-running rose show, bringing more than 4,000 blooms to Lloyd Center in Northeast Portland. Explore a huge variety of roses, from the quarter-inch micro-minis to the 8 inch standard blooms.
The Rose Festival is proud to host the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races, an event that has been bringing an exciting Chinese tradition to Portland for more than two decades, beginning in 1989. Held on the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge, the races feature exciting four-team heats held every nine minutes. More than…
A cherished highlight of the Portland Rose Festival, this popular procession is more than a spectacular floral-filled parade; it’s a beloved annual tradition. For more than 100 years, Portland families, visitors and community groups have been making memories at the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. A colorful reflection of local, regional and international communities, the…
Come to the Good in the Neighborhood Multicultural Music & Food Festival features live music, a parade, an information Village, marketplace, beer and wine garden and a youth venue, along with a kids’ space. The official parade is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 27, starting at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on the corner…
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Upcoming Dates & Times
- May 22