The Portland Rose Festival has served as a favorite family tradition for 115 years – and counting. This year’s festival is just around the corner, kicking off over Memorial Day weekend.
Whether this is your first Portland Rose Festival or the first one you’ve attended as parents to young children, we thought we’d highlight the events we know the kiddos will love.
Here are five Rose Festival traditions you don’t want to miss. Best of all, kids will love them, which means parents get to enjoy them, too.
1. Opening ceremony and fireworks
Most of the United States have to wait until July 4th to enjoy fireworks. Lucky for us, the Rose Festival’s opening night includes carnival rides and a live concert by Hit Machine. Once the sun sets, attendees will be regaled by “the biggest, baddest fireworks ever!”
2. Rose Festival Treasure Hunt
What kid – little, big, or at heart – doesn’t love a Treasure Hunt? Several members of our staff cite this as their very favorite Rose Fest tradition. The treasure hunt was added to the list of events in 1983 and continues to this day. A Rose Festival Medallion is hidden on public property in the Portland-metro area. The treasure being searched for in this event will be a small (approximately 2.5-inch by 3-inch) block of Lucite with a special Rose Festival Medallion embedded inside.
Daily clues are offered each day, at 10:00 a.m., on the Treasure Hunt website – beginning on May 27. Clues refer to local history, as well as geography. Often, they are so obscure that they generate lots of “water cooler talk” among casual observers and hunters alike, as they try to decipher the meaning of clues! The hunt ends when the medallion is found, after which the winner gets $500 in cash among other prizes.
3. City Fair
The City Fair runs from the Rose Festival’s opening day on May 27 through June 12. You’ll find your favorite fair features – carnival rides, fair foods, interactive exhibits, and constant entertainment – all nestled between the urban energy of the city and the natural beauty of the Willamette River.
Kids ages 6 & under are admitted FREE with adults, courtesy of Darigold (get kids free tickets at any CityFair gate). Parents and children 7 and up save 20% by purchasing their tickets online.
4. Junior Parade (June 8)
The Junior Parade is kicked off by Fred Meyer’s Mascot, Fred Bear. Children come from all parts of the city to join in: dressing in costume, transforming wagons into floats, decorating their bikes with colorful flowers, or just parading with their pets (and parents!). Elementary and Middle School marching bands fill the Hollywood District with song, and dance teams add swirls of color to the celebration.
The parade gets started in the Hollywood District, beginning at Sandy Blvd and NE 52nd Ave at 1:00 p.m. It then travels down Sandy Blvd, turns onto NE 40th Ave, then NE Tillamook, and ends at Grant High School. Your family can enjoy the parade along its route or watch it at home on Fox 12 Plus (KPDX), which broadcasts the parade live on June 8 from 1:00 to 3:00.
Have a child who wants to take part in the parade? RSVP Here.
5. Grand Floral Parade (June 11)
There are several different parades that take place throughout the two week festival. The most iconic is the Grand Floral parade. Each year the parade features the traditional large all-floral floats we all love, as well as the popular mini-floats that help make the Grand Floral Parade so unique! With bands, equestrian units, marching groups, drill teams, vintage vehicles, dancers, llamas, flags and so much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Our office loves watching the parade in person along its route (through the Memorial Coliseum, down MLK Jr. Blvd, left on Lloyd Blvd, and concluding at Multnomah near the Lloyd Center), but we understand that might not be your preferred choice this year. So, feel free to watch from your couch by tuning into Fox 12 Oregon at 9:30 a.m. on June 11.
Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Hopes to See You There
Many of our team members and their families love going to the festival. We hope to see you and your family out and about this year!