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Rose Festival to Officially Kick-Start Summer

The Portland Rose Festival announced a major update in programming today at a joint press conference in front of the festival’s future home, the McCall’s Restaurant building in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Beginning this season, the Rose Festival will open one week earlier on Memorial Day weekend, providing three weekends of downtown festivities in and around the park.

Rose Festival Director Jeff Curtis and Rose Festival Board President Robert Hansen unveiled the new Waterfront Village dates: May 22 through June 7, encompassing three weekends of ‘Remembrance, Revelry and Roses,’ as each are themed.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard was present to ceremoniously hand over the building key to Curtis. The Foundation plans to move its office into the new space following this year’s festival (at a time to be determined). The City of Portland will lease the McCall’s space (which has stood unoccupied for several years) to the Foundation at a nominal fee of $1 a year.

Following the announcement, the Royal Rosarians and the Portland Rose Society conducted an official rose planting to commemorate the occasion. The new rose, ‘Oregon Celebration,’ is the official rose of both the 2009 Rose Festival and Oregon 150, provided by Dennis’ 7 Dees.

“At a time when people are watching their wallets, we are providing a cost effective alternative to holiday travel by allowing residents to stay and play right here in their own front yard,” said Curtis.

Programming during Memorial Day Weekend — “Rembrance” presented by TriWest Healthcare Alliance — fits easily with the Rose Festival mission. The festival has always had a strong patriotic component in its events and parades. With the additional weekend, the festival will be able to create one of the city’s biggest Memorial Day traditions in downtown, and provide Portlanders with an affordable and entertaining start to the summer season.

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