It seems like the rose bushes in our neighborhood have all burst into bloom in the last week or so, and that means it’s time for Portland’s fabulous annual Rose Festival!
Fun fact from the PRF website: Did you know there are enough flowers used on the floats to send your mother a dozen roses, every day, for 30 years?
Yes, Portland’s Rose Festival really is about the roses. But it also offers a variety of family-friendly events ranging from fireworks to parades to a fun run to concerts to dragon boat races to Fleet Week to art shows to the carnival-like CityFair!
While all of the festival’s details are available on its main website, we’ve listed some highlights below!
Starlight Parade: Saturday, May 31 @ 8:30 pm
This wacky, crowd-pleasing parade is all about the lights — floats adorned with electric lights and glow-in-the-dark galore!
Starlight Run: Saturday, May 31 @ 7:45 pm
Ages 16+ $19 / 12-15 $14 / 6-11 $9 / 5 and under $7 / T-shirt $15 extra
Yep. It’s the same night! Thousands of costumed runners weave their way along the Starlight Parade route just prior to the kickoff of the parade!
Grand Floral Parade: Saturday, June 7 @ 10 am
Free; reserved seats available for a fee
Sure, the parade starts at 10, but Portlanders are famous for staking out their territory hours in advance. Don’t want to get up early? Reserved seats are available.
Want to get a sneak peek at the floats and even help decorate them? Sign up to be a volunteer! Decorators are needed May 21-June 6.
Fleet Week: June 4 – 9
Whether you’re interested in seeing the ships or the sailors, Fleet Week brings ships from around the world to Portland during Rose Festival. Besides being called the Rose City, another of Portland’s monikers is Bridgetown — and you’ll get a first-hand glimpse of its many vertical-lift and drawbridges in action as the fleet rolls in on Wednesday the 4th and Friday the 6th. Ships are scheduled to depart on Monday the 9th.
In addition, many ships offer tours from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the north end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Be a Clown!
Free to apply; background check fee if selected
Yep. You can apply to be a clown in the Rose Parade! Applications are closed for this year’s parade, but it’s never too early to think about next year!
Rose Festival Treasure Hunt: Starts May 26
Back after an eight-year hiatus, the popular Rose Festival Treasure Hunt is back. Originally run as a daily series of cryptic clues, this year’s incarnation will offer online clues. The winner will take home $1,000, two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines, and an overnight dinner stay at Spirit Mountain Casino.
Dragon Boat Races: Friday & Saturday, June 7 & 8, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Free for spectators
Dragon boat racers compete in gorgeous boats graciously provided through the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association. The races take place at the south end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Warning — watching this year’s races just might inspire you to race next year!
Rose Cup Races: Friday-Sunday, June 13-15, 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
3-day advance tickets $20
Portland International Raceway hosts the Rose Cup amateur car races, featuring over 400 racers in 25 divisions! One-day tickets are also available.
CityFair: Open weekends from Friday, May 23 – Sunday, June 8 (see schedule)
Admission $7 for ages 7+
Rides, live music, food and beverages abound at the City Fair (if you’re from Portland you may know this as the Fun Center — apparently that name wasn’t hip enough any more!). Located on the waterfront, CityFair is the iconic nerve center of the Rose Festival.
CityFair Admission Discounts
- Rose Festival Souvenir Pin is a season pass – $10 at Fred Meyer stores, Rose Garden Store & PRFF Office [while supplies last].
- Kids 6 and under are always FREE.
- FREE admission for Veterans, Reservists, and Active Military with Valid Military ID and ONE guest.
- FREE admission on Thursday, June 5, with a donation of two cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank, in partnership with OneMain Financial.
- Details available on the Rose Festival CityFair web page!
We’ve just scratched the surface of what makes Portland’s Rose Festival a fantastic tradition. Explore their website for additional details and, whether it’s for a week or a weekend, enjoy the Rose Festival!
P.S. Let us know if you try the deep fried rose petals!