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Packy the Elephant Selected as Grand Marshal for the Grand Floral Parade

Packy the elephant knows a thing or two about greeting visitors after fifty years as Portland’s most popular pachyderm. At his 50th birthday party at the Oregon Zoo, it was revealed that Packy will be the 2012 Grand Marshal of the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade (which takes place on Saturday, June 9). He was first considered for this same honor way back in 1962, when barely two months old. Portland Rose Festival president Sue Bunday made the announcement today just before the Royal Rosarians bestowed knighthood on the nation’s tallest and oldest male Asian elephant. We can all call him ‘Sir Packy’ from now on!

“In a year of milestones, Packy’s 50th birthday stands head and shoulders above the rest,” said Sue Bunday, (President of the Portland Rose Festival Foundation). “We’re so delighted that the Royal Rosarians decided to knight Packy in their Centennial year, and we look forward to honoring him in our 100th Grand Floral Parade.”

Packy is the first Grand Marshal that will not be able to actually ride in the parade, but though parade fans won’t see him in person, the Rose Festival and the Oregon Zoo will make sure his footprint is all over the nation’s second largest all-floral parade. “We’re honored that the Rose Festival is recognizing Packy in this way — and we’re really looking forward to this year’s parade,” said Kim Smith, Oregon Zoo director. “For the past 50 years, Packy has been a great ambassador — both for the Rose City and for his species, which is in serious trouble in the wild. Plus he is without a doubt Portland’s biggest celebrity.”