Portland’s Rose Festival Parades are back this year for the first time since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the Starlight, Grand Floral and Junior Parades last year and the year before.
Rose Fest “Parade Queen” Marilyn Clint says organizing the festival’s return has been a huge task, and big changes are coming this time around. This year’s theme is “Rose City Reunion”.
“We had to reinvent ourselves for once again,” she said. “The business of making a comeback is serious. You have to take so many things into consideration.
The first of three parades, the illuminated Evening Starlight Parade, will take place this Saturday. It will be entirely downtown this year, with a new course that includes Naito Parkway. It will start about an hour earlier than it has generally done in the past.
The new parade route runs from Naito Drive to Lincoln High School near Providence Park.
Most of the route takes Fourth Street and Broadway between Davis and Salmon Street.
The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. The Naito Promenade will be closed to traffic beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the entire parade route will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. Cars parked along the route will be towed away.
The parade mostly avoids bus and transit routes, but a few will be affected.
Clint said the consideration of new austerity and security measures led to the most notable change to this year’s festival: the June 11 Grand Flower Parade will take place entirely on Portland’s east side for the first time since decades.
The parade crossed the Burnside Bridge, but Clint said the upcoming construction of the bridge meant the route needed a change.
The shortened parade route is also two miles long, down from four. Clint said the parade will descend Lloyd Boulevard for the first time since the late 1940s. It will begin indoors, inside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter.
Parade routes: Grand floral parade | parade of stars | Junior Parade
The June 8 Junior Parade will return to the Hollywood district.
Another change: for the first and probably the last time, three courts of the Rose Festival will parade during the big floral parade. Members of the 2020 and 2021 courts, who did not have the chance to participate in the parades, will parade with this year’s Rose Festival court.
After: 2022 Rose Festival Yard
“I just can’t wait to see people on the streets of Portland having fun,” Clint said. “I can’t wait to see this happen, to see all of our fantastic nominations take to the streets and to see them cheered and welcomed by a city ready to celebrate.”