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Rose Festival Brightens Portland’s Economy

After more than a century of helping make Portland a better place to live and visit, the Portland Rose Festival Foundation walks the talk to City Hall Wednesday morning (December 5) to present a comprehensive, independent economic impact study showing the Festival generates $75.5 million for the local economy annually. For a small non-profit with a $4 million budget, this is a significant return of dollars into the local economy for Portland’s Official Festival — and further validates the City of Portland’s contribution of support.

“The Rose Festival is an integral part of what Portland is. I could not be more proud of anything I have done than the work I have done to help the Rose Festival,” says Randy Leonard (Portland City Commissioner). “From locating them in their beautiful building on Portland’s front porch — to bringing new and inflatable floating water park exciting events to the city — I have not enjoyed anything more in 10 years on the City Council than working with the Rose Festival Foundation.”

The International Festivals & Events Association was contracted by the Portland Rose Festival to conduct an economic impact assessment for its 2012 event (held May 20 – June 17), using IFEA’s assessment model. Intercept surveys were collected over three key weekends of the festival at CityFair, the Starlight Parade, the Grand Floral Parade and Rose Cup venues. (Further data was also collected from other sources like the Competitor Group, which produces the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series.)

“The Portland Rose Festival has been a leader in the special events industry for more than a century. We were pleased to be able to validate the significant return the Rose Festival makes to the region through the results of this study,” said Steve Schmader (CEO – International Festivals & Events Association). “It’s a reminder that special events — along with their many other benefits — make ‘dollars and sense’ for their host cities: They return significant dollars, and that makes good sense.”

This study indicates that a large percentage of the event’s attendees traveled from outside Portland, which brings new dollars to the community to create economic impact that would not have occurred without the event. The addition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon in 2012 accounted for $14 million of the impact enhancing the Festival’s already world class status with a highly renowned running event.

“As a destination city that draws fitness enthusiasts from across the country, Portland’s beauty and unique energy made it a perfect fit for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series,” said Josh Furlow (Senior VP of Operations for Competitor Group, Inc.). “Our inaugural half-marathon gave thousands of visiting runners an unforgettable tour of the Rose City as they explored its eclectic neighborhoods and parks, while also giving a boost to local businesses during their stay.”

In two of the past five years, the Portland Rose Festival was named the ‘Best Festival in the World’ by its trade organization, IFEA. The prominence of the Rose Festival has far exceeded the expectations of its origins, heaping benefits — both economic and intrinsic — as well as considerable praise on a place that more than a century ago became internationally known as the City of Roses.

“106 years ago the festival was founded on the principle of economic development,” says Jeff Curtis (Portland Rose Festival CEO). “We are proud to have a significant impact to our local economy, especially in recent years when financial uncertainty dominated the conversations throughout our community.”