Portland’s Rose Festival parades are back this year for the first time since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the Starlight, Grand Floral and Junior parades last year and the year before.
Rose Fest “Parade Queen” Marilyn Clint said organizing the festival’s return has been a huge task, and big changes are coming this time around. This year’s theme is “Rose City Reunion.”
“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves for a new time,” she said. “The business of making a comeback — it’s serious. You have to take so much into consideration.”
“Part of those considerations are health and safety of everybody, the participants and your guests. And part of it is also the resources of the city of Portland when we’re talking about these big parades.”
Clint said considering new austerity and safety measures led to the most noticeable change of this year’s festival: The Grand Floral Parade on June 11 will be entirely on Portland’s east side for the first time in decades.
The parade used to cross the Burnside Bridge, but Clint said upcoming bridge construction meant the route needed a change.
The shortened parade route is also two miles long, rather than four. Clint said the parade will move down Lloyd Boulevard for the first time since the late 1940s. It’ll start indoors, inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Rose Quarter.
The illuminated, evening Starlight Parade on June 4 will be entirely downtown this year, with a new route that includes Naito Parkway. It will start about an hour earlier than it generally has in the past.
The Junior Parade on June 8 will return to the Hollywood District.
Another change: For the first and probably last time ever, three Rose Festival courts will march in the Grand Floral Parade. The members of the 2020 and 2021 courts, who didn’t get a chance to participate in parades, will march with this year’s Rose Festival court.
More: 2022 Rose Festival Court
“I’m just looking forward to seeing people on the streets of Portland enjoying themselves,” Clint said. “I cannot wait to see this happen, see all of our fantastic entries going down the street and having them be cheered and welcomed by a city that’s ready to celebrate.”