The Portland Rose Festival is back, with a full season and a new look for the CareOregon Starlight Parade and Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade. The Festival is adding a special kick-off Rose City Reunion concert presented by Bank of America, with the Oregon Symphony, Thursday, May 26 at 6:00 p.m. on the Dick's Auto Group Stage in the RoZone at Waterfront Park. The concert will feature the world premiere of "From One Rose," a special musical number written by the Festival's own Ron Carr, and arranged by Emmy award-winning composer Bruce Broughton. The Rose Festival officially starts Friday, May 27.
The Rose Festival's three large traditional parades are back, with a couple of inspired innovations for two of them! The CareOregon Starlight Parade will have a new start time, and route, that celebrates the renewal of downtown Portland. Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade will shorten its route, and stay on the east side of the river. The Fred Meyer Junior Parade continues its traditional path through the heart of the northeast Hollywood district on Sandy Boulevard.
Following the fan-favorite Starlight Run, the CareOregon Starlight Parade will start on southbound SW Naito Parkway at the Morrison Bridge at 7:30 p.m. one hour earlier than in past years. It will turn up Salmon Street in front of the popular fountain, and then turn north on 4th Avenue moving with the traffic, the opposite direction from past years. Then it will cross over Burnside to NW Davis, and go west a few blocks before turning south on Broadway. Going with traffic again, the parade will continue to SW Taylor, before turning west to SW 14th and ending near Lincoln High School.
The Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade is an all-eastside celebration this year, for the first time since the 1948 Vanport Flood forced the Festival to move its signature parade. This traditional all-floral parade is unique, in that it starts indoors. Veterans Memorial Coliseum will open its curtains and let the sun shine inside this famous glass palace, as thousands of spectators enjoy the comforts of climate-controlled seating.
The parade will go outside, and onto eastbound NE Weidler, before turning south on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The parade will then turn off its traditional path, and go east along Lloyd Boulevard, skirting the northern edge of the Banfield Freeway and passing by the new Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. It will complete the procession near the Lloyd Center, in the area of NE 15th and Multnomah, triumphantly returning to the Lloyd District for the first time in decades!