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ani, glitter

She Was Queen for the 50th Anniversary of Rose Festival in 1958

During the 'golden' decade in 1958, I was crowned Queen of Rosaria, during the 50th anniversary of the Portland Rose Festival.

Those years of the '50's have been deemed the 'happy days' -- at school we wore white blouses with peter pan collars, skirts, sweaters and white buck shoes. The Rose Festival was in full bloom -- and little did I know while gazing wistfully at the Queen's picture on the front page of the paper each year that someday my own picture would be there!

Our beautiful Princess gowns were of gold lame, designed by Cahill (a famous designer). The Queen's gown was of fine white silk with gold embroidered flowers. Yards of fabric billowed gracefully and the dresses were supported by large hoop petticoats. For a month prior to the festival we toured the city, Mount Hood, Horsetail Falls and attended luncheons where we introduced ourselves.

The Coronation was held in the old Multnomah stadium with a cheering crowd of twenty-two thousand people. David Rose conducted the orchestra and both Esther Williams and Guy Williams (then known as "Zorro" -- and the Grand Marshal) were present. My heart was aflutter as I received two and a half dozen American Beauty red roses during the stadium show, a kind gesture from Zorro!

At the Coronation each of us was escorted on the field in a golf cart, beautifully decorated as a slice of cake. When all were assembled together they represented a 50th anniversary cake. With a red face I must confess that my hoop petticoat became unhooked just as I was announced to the crowd! I had to get back in the cart and ride off the field for repairs, but I just kept on smiling and waving.

After the announcement backstage that I'd been chosen the new queen, I was briskly escorted to a trailer where I slipped into the beautiful fairytale Queen's gown. The presentation onstage was dramatic as each of us sat in the middle of a rose that was opened before the cheering crowd. The queen's rose was larger and located in the center. I remember sitting in the closed rose feeling alone, dazed and thrilled beyond words.

The year that followed was a busy one. My picture was in "Time" magazine, the article pointing out that since the first satellite had been launched the new emphasis would be on the sciences, not the light and the lovely! We all the events of the following decades. We've grown with them, celebrated them, cried over them --and our lives have changed with them. In my 50 years since the Portland Rose Festival where I was Queen, I've lived many places, formed many friendships, have had four children and four grandchildren.

The tradition of the Portland Rose Festival has continued and grown and is still a source of civic pride and joy. It's part of the history of our state and is known throughout our country.

Today I'm celebrating this beautiful festival with my friends and family -- and I'll bring out my old yellow-paged scrapbook to read to my grandchildren!

Thank you, Rose Festival, for sharing this lifelong treasure with me and so many others. This year the 100th anniversary will surely be the best!

~Ruth (Parrett) Gamble (1958 Queen)