Portland’s fabulous annual Rose Festival is upon us, and fireworks will be held on the opening night of CityFair, Friday, May 26! We’re sure that they’ll live up to this year’s theme — Brilliant — as will June 10th’s annual Grand Floral Parade.
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! Portland Brewing has even created a new brew — Bloomin’ Brilliant — to celebrate!
While all of the festival’s details are available on its main website, we’ve listed some highlights below!
Rose Festival Treasure Hunt: Starts May 28
The popular Rose Festival Treasure Hunt offers online clues guiding participants to the location of a small medallion. The winner will take home $1,000 and win overnight stay for two, including dinner, at Spirit Mountain Casino!
Treasure hunt too tough for ya? Try finding one of Portland’s numerous geocaches (the best one ever is in our neighborhood!).
Junior Parade: Wednesday, June 7 @ 1 pm
Elementary and middle school students from around Portland wear costumes and decorate their bikes & wagons in the nation’s oldest and largest childrens’ parade.
Can’t make it in person? The parade’s covered live on KPTV, channel 12 in Portland.
Fleet Week: June 7-11
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 (and as it departs).
In addition, many ships offer tours from Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
CityFair: Open May 26-29, June 2-4, and June 9-11
Admission $8 for ages 7+
Rides, live music, food and beverages abound at the CityFair (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, and elsewhere while supplies last.
- Portland General Electric is sponsoring CityFair and offering a 2-for-1 admission coupon.
- Kids 6 and under are always FREE.
- FREE admission for Veterans, Reservists, and Active Military (plus one guest) with Valid Military ID.
- Local Costco stores are offering a CityFair Two-Pack for $60, which includes admission & unlimited rides for two, and more!
- Advance tickets are available online and offer a variety of discounts, too.
Grand Floral Parade: Saturday, June 10 @ 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 an up close look at the floats before the parade? Volunteer to be a float decorator!
Join the Circus Corps!
Free to apply; administrative & makeup fees if selected
Yep. You can apply to join the Circus Corps for the Rose Parade and other events! Formerly the Clown Corps, the 2017 Festival has added additional types of circus performers to this fun mix.
Dragon Boat Races: Friday & Saturday, June 10 & 1, 8:00 am – 5:00 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, July 7-9, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
3-day advance tickets $25
Portland International Raceway hosts the Rose Cup amateur car races, the premier amateur road racing event in the Pacific Northwest! One-day tickets are also available.
Starlight Run: Saturday, June 3 @ 7:45 pm
Free for spectators and kids 5 and under, $25 for runners 19+, $15 for teens, $10 for kids 6-12
This fun 5K run along the route of the quirky and entertaining Starlight Parade brings out runners (and costumes!) of all sorts. Held just before the start of the parade, about 250,000 spectators cheer on the runners, making this event even more fun for everyone.
We’ve just scratched the surface of what makes Portland’s Rose Festival a fantastic tradition. Explore their website for additional details and, if you live in Portland, consider volunteering to ensure the Festival’s success!
Enjoy the 2017 Portland Rose Festival, whether you visit for a week or a weekend!