The Rose Festival is back in Portland. That means it is also Fleet Week.
The Rose Festival is one of Portland’s annual traditions that has been going on for more than a century. It is one of the big events to kick off the summer season in the City of Roses.
It starts if with City Fair (where all the rides are) and the Starlight Parade on the first Saturday evening. The Starlight Parade has floats and high school bands. The Wednesday during the Rose Festival is the Junior Rose Parade which is made up of elementary and middle school entries (including bands). The final Saturday is when the Rose Festival Queen is crowned (each of the high schools elects a princess who competes for Queen), just before the parade kicks off. The parade includes high school and adult bands, horse and float entires. All the float decorations have to be decorated with natural products (like seeds, nuts, and flowers). It is a huge event that attracts a lot of people to turn out in person to see it, as well as people tuning in and watching it on TV.
This week, as part of the Rose Festival, it is also Fleet Week, where we have Naval, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships come and dock along the water front (on the Willamette River), for a few days and during certain times can be toured.
While I was in Band in Middle School I was in the Junior Rose Parade twice. In 9th grade I was in the Grand Floral Parade (in Marching Band) and my sophomore year I had been in the Starlight Parade. Being in the grand floral Parade was a big deal, and I got to do it as a freshman. My freshman year was the last year the band from my high school (by itself) was invited to be in the Grand Floral Parade.
I had attended the Starlight parade a couple of times while I was in Middle School since my brother was in it. My brother and I were both in the high school bands the year we were in the grand floral parade.
The parades, the ships and city fair (which is like a big fair or carnival), is a really fun way to kick off the summer season and for the kids (especially the band kids), to be ending the school year on.