April 20th, 2007

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Waltzing as a Rose Festival Event (Circa 1985)

The picture is worn and very faded, but it has been on my shelf for many years. It captures me and my husband George waltzing on ice when ice dancing was part of a skating competition held at Valley Ice Arena, Beaverton.

Ice Waltzing - from The Oregonian

This competition was named "Rose Festival" and was a part of the Rose Festival Celebration. Though the competition still occurs in June, it was renamed many years ago and I am not sure that it has the same connection.

At that time, my husband of three years and I competed in the Silver Veteran's Dance. This was an ice dancing competition open to individuals over the age of 35 who had attained a certain level of skill as evidenced by proficiency tests. The Silver Veteran's Dance consisted of dances at the Silver Dance test level or below. The picture in The Oregonian (Tuesday, June 4, 1985, page 4M) showed us skating in waltz position, probably dancing to a slow set pattern dance, most probably the Willow Waltz.

I don't remember how we placed, but when I look at this faded photograph it's nice to remember that Rose Festival Competition when waltzing on ice to slow lilting melody was a Rose Festival Event. Our skating days have long since ended, but the joy of dancing a waltz on ice remains a treasured memory relived through an old, faded photo from the past.

~Jerilyn Felton
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Memories of the Grand Floral Parade -- Riding on Horseback in 1998

As young boys Dad and Mom would take us to the Rose Festival parades -- from 1955 (when I was 5 years old and my brother Dale was 3) until 1960 when we moved to California.

Dad would sit us on his shoulders so we could see. He even told us that the bald spot on his head was from holding us on his shoulders for years -- and us hanging on to his hair! He had us snookered until we studied genetics in school...

Later, in 1998, I was part of the Portland Police Reserve Mounted Patrol.

We were just getting on our way with the parade when we were stopped on MLK for a float that had gotten stuck coming out of the driveway of the Coliseum. As we stood there (me and my horse), it started to drizzle.

There was a mom and a couple of children under a tarp right next to my horse and me. I was talking to the mom and we were laughing about the rain and the little girl said, "What will you do if it really starts raining?"

I was laughing and told her that the horse and I would simply duck under the tarp with them.

She looked at me with the most incredibly blue eyes and the smile went away from her face and she said, "There's not enough room."

Her mom lost it and was laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face.

Right about then they got the float unstuck and down the street we went. Too bad politics got in the way of community policing. We were disbanded at the end of that year and I am now serving as a reserve in Hillsboro.

~Bruce Cuyler
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Big Heads in the 1948 Junior Parade

In 1948 I was in the Junior Parade and won a prize. I have pictures that include myself and two of the neighbor kids, Barbara and Donnie Clark, who lived next door on NE 57th. Their dad, Bob Clark, built the Donald Duck head and the clown head.

1948 Junior Parade - 1

1948 Junior Parade - 2

Back in 1945, I was in the 5th grade at St. Patrick Grade School and was chosen to try out for Rose Festival Prince. I remember being on stage for the tryouts at the Broadway Theater where I gave my name and school, but wasn't chosen. No pictures for that event!

~Bob Hilger
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The 1955 Junior Parade, the Measles, and My Cat...

The year was 1955. I was seven years old and lived at NE 63rd and Sandy.

Excitedly I decorated my doll buggy with crepe paper and tucked in my favorite baby doll -- I was ready to join the other children in the annual Junior Rose Festival Parade.

Much to my surprise, I won a prize!

The piece of paper said that I had won a CAT! I remember pushing my buggy for the entire route of the parade, happy and feeling warm. When I got home from the parade, my mother took one look at me, felt my forehead and put me to bed!

The doctor confirmed that I had measles.

But I didn't care. Lying in a darkened room, I had feverish dreams of my new cat... It would be warm, cuddling, soft and all mine to play with and love. Marching in the parade was worth it. Being very sick was worth it.

My father went to pick up my new friend. You can imagine a little girl's disappointment when I learned that the CAT I had won was an office product with a wire back to hold mail and a pen for a tail!

~Donna Shackelford
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Rose Festival Lover

My name is Linda and I was raised in Hillsboro, Oregon.

I've always loved the Rose Parade and used to wish I could be a Rose Festival Princess, but I knew I would someday graduate from Hillsboro High School -- which was, of course, not in the Portland School District.

I'd make crowns out of tin foil like the one the Queen was crowned with and would take a rose from my parents garden and tie it to the plant stem cutter and pretend it was my sceptor! I had a great time pretending to be the Rose Festival Queen.

If any princess had the name Linda, I would hope she would be chosen the Queen of Rosaria!

Later as a teenager in the early-to-mid '70s, I marched in both the Grand Floral Parade and Starlight Parade as member of the Hillsboro High School Spartan Band -- I played the clarinet and loved marching in the parades! (More than once the Hillsboro Band won the award of "Best in State Band.")

I now live in Milwaukie and my son has marched in the Starlight Parade as a trumpet player in the Milwaukie High School Mustangs band. The tradition continues -- and I'm happy to be alive to see the 100th Anniversary of the Rose Festival!

~Linda (Takalo) Duffy
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Love on the Tide at the Rose Festival (1967)

The year was 1967. The Cold War was raging, the 'hot war' in Viet Nam was not yet to a boil -- and the Rose Festival Fleet numbered over 20 ships.

We were young in years, but on the trailing edge of the pre-hippy generation.

I'd left my ship to see what there was to see along the waterfront. The girl was a beauty [Sharon Leichner] -- and she asked me to get her and her friends on board for a tour...

It turned out she was a junior Girl Scout leader -- with four or five of her young charges in tow! Somehow she managed to dump them with another leader, then joined me to visit a Canadian sail training ship I was interested in. We talked boats. (I'd grown up with sailboats in San Francisco -- she'd grown up with power boats on the Columbia.)

An offer of a home cooked meal turned out to be a TV dinner -- and an evening of passionate youthful groping.

Delivered back to my ship by Rose City Transit (the bus before Tri-Met), I soon left Portland with the rest of the fleet. But just like the old joke about sailors and salmon, I came back.

And I stayed.

Now almost forty years later I still enjoy that beautiful girl, TV dinners -- and occasional passionate groping...

~Jim Sinclair (of Cedar Mill)
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A Chinese Memory of Rose Festival

In 1927, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (which houses a Chinese Language since 1911) had the girl students (of which I was one) put on Chinese costumes, with head dresses, to ride in the Grand Floral Parade.

Our seats were small -- the bench was only about 10 inches long! We had to sit through the whole parade in the hot sun. For our efforts we were each given five dollars, with which I bought a beautiful pleated dress. I still have a photo of some of the floats and of my dress. There were no flowers on the floats in those days.

I am the historian of our local CCBA and am putting up some of the memories in our Museum. These include a photo of the late Laurie King -- the first Chinese Queen of Rosaria -- and her daughter Keely, who was a Junior Queen.

To my surprise and delight, the April 9, 2007 (Monday) copy of The Oregonian has a photo of my son Robert Leong, who was one of the drivers from Benson High School in 1988. These drivers took the princesses all over the city, starting at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. They had to be able to stop the cars on a dime instantly.

A Chinese Gong from the 1928 Rose Festival

~Mary N. Leong
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Raining Coins at Rose Festival

It was probably in the early fifties and I was around eight years old.

The memory is very vivid. I was sitting on the street curb waiting for the parade to start and office workers were throwing pennies, nickels and dimes out of their office windows on to the street -- with all of us kids scrambling for the bootie!

~Nadine (Campbell) Mitchell (of Surprise, AZ)
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Riding on the Girl Scout Float in 1966

In 1966 when I was an eight-year-old brownie scout, my Mom helped me enter a float design contest.

My design won me a ride on the Girl Scout flout! I was very excited. We lived in Astoria, Oregon at the time. The night before the parade my Dad drove my brother Bill and I up to Portland. (My Mom stayed home with the rest of my siblings who were sick.)

I spent a very excited night at my grandparents home. My hair was done up in pin curls. It was hard to sleep. Then we got up very early. My Aunt finished doing my blonde hair in a flip and made sure that my uniform was just right -- everything had to be perfect for the parade!

We got down to the staging area in plenty of time. They placed me on the float and told me to smile. My Dad took a picture of me and my brother Bill standing next to me on the float. By the way, that picture won my Dad a prize! The Float rolled off down the parade route. I smiled my nice happy smile for a very long time. When it was all over my cheeks hurt -- it even hurt to smile.

I had such a great time that ever since then the Rose Festival parade has been MY parade -- and I've rarely missed one!

~Mary Anne Thygesen
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Not Saving Space Again at the Grand Floral Parade

Around 15 years ago, a friend and I volunteered to save sidewalk space downtown for our respective families to watch the parade.

We didn't take enough supplies to keep ourselves warm or well-fed, and it was a long, cold night!

In the morning we got up, straightened our blankets and chairs, and called both our families -- only to find out that everyone had decided to stay home and watch the parade on television!

Well, we now fully agree with the no-saving-space-for-others policy -- but for reasons you might not think of right away!

~Steve Bauer
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Graduation Year -- and My Friend Queen Jen

I'm a native Portlander, so I've been around the Rose Festival my whole life. I love every aspect of the Festival from the Battle of the Bands [Festival of Bands], the Fleet arrival and the Grand Floral Parade to the Queen's Coronation.

I was a senior in high school back in 1991 (attending Wilson High School) when my really good friend Jennifer Deas was crowned Queen of Rosaria! I attended the Coronation Ceremony at Lloyd Center, which was held actually on the covered up ice rink that year. After the ceremony, I was able to go back stage and give Queen Jennifer a huge hug of congratulations.

Our high school was scheduled for graduation at the Civic Auditorium the night before the Grand Floral Parade -- so that meant that our 'All Night Party' was the night and morning of the Grand Floral Parade. I remember Queen Jennifer attended the graduation ceremony and was then whisked off to the Battle of the Bands at the Civic Stadium. Later she was brought back for the 'All Night Party.'

After the 'All Night Party,' five of us decided that we weren't tired, so we went straight from were the school buses dropped us off back at Wilson and headed to downtown Portland -- near SW Taylor and 13th -- to park. We toted our signs that read "Wilson Loves You Queen Jen" and our lawn chairs down to SW Broadway (in front of the Central library) and camped out at something like 6:00 a.m. -- just to see our best friend Queen Jen!

This was one of my most memorable experiences with all of the Portland Rose Festival events I have attended over the years.

Thanks for letting me share my story!

~Carolyn (Lake Oswego, Oregon)
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A Memorial Year as a Rose Court Member (1948)

Rain was on the minds of all as the 1948 Rose Festival Celebration approached. The city's water front was the main concern, because the Willamette river was just about to crest over the seawall in downtown Portland.

The decision was made to move the parade route to the east side. The Queen's Float moved down Hawthorne boulevard, as we all tried to look regal wrapped in plastic and holding pink parasols. Yes, we remembered our smiles as we waved to the loyal crowd!

After the parade we attended the luncheon honoring visiting royalty, with our heads wrapped in pink tulle to hide our rollers, as we were off to the Royal Ball that evening!

The rain continued and the Columbia River broke through the dike at Vanport Village causing devastation to all living in the area.

Vanport Flood

I remember working with court members at The Red Cross, helping to reunite family members who were separated. Sharing this special honor with my seven wonderful Rose Festival Sisters was truly rewarding!

We've all stayed in touch for the past 59 years, sharing family and events in our lives.

I've been married for 53 years to a wonderful man and have five wonderful children and seven grandchildren. My husband and two sons have been members of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, so I've lived a life filled with roses and parades. I remember my ride on the Queen's Float -- and I love waving to all the float riders who ride down Colorado boulevard on January 1!

By the way, I'm looking forward to attending the Centennial Celebration!

~Jeanette Houf Moscaret
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Serving as a Princess on the 1958 Court

Maralyn Griffith - 1958 Princess from Washington high school

I'd like to share my LIST of Rose Festival memories:

1. The shock of being voted to represent my high school [Washington] by my classmates.

2. The wonderful girls I met on the Rose Court!

3. The cheers and shouts of the people on the parade route.

4. It was the Golden anniversary of the Rose Festival, and we wore long Gold beautiful elaborate dresses.

5. Zorro was the parade marshal and there was a constant whirl-wind of activities.

6. The love and support from my High School friends and family.

7. Attending my graduation with a Rosarian escort for only a few short moments to receive my degree with a standing ovation from my classmates.

8. Not fumbling my speech at the Queen's coronation!

9. Wishing that every girl in my class could have been a princess to experience the excitement.

10. In summary, as Bob Hope would say, "Thanks for the Memories" -- they were wonderful!

~Maralyn Griffith Fowler
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A Fixture in Our Lives -- The Rose Festival


That's the phrase I remember shouting as my sister and I awaited the beautiful, fun and exciting Grand Floral Parade! Before I was even six years old, my parents (both adamant parade supporters) would take us downtown where my grandparents lived and worked -- to camp out on the sidewalk outside the apartment and business building to await the parade.

My grandfather would go down early in the morning and save a space for all our family to watch the parade. Sometimes boards, cones, or sawhorses would be used. Whatever he used, it worked -- and we always had a space just for us! We'd go up to our grandparents apartment and have something to eat or drink to keep us happy during the long parade to come. Then -- just before ten o'clock -- my Nan, (we called her Nan, instead of Nana) or Papa, would take us down to sit on handmade stools my Papa had made for us. (I still have one of those stools to this day!)

The Parade couldn't come fast enough! But, when we heard the roar of the Police motorcycles, we knew the delight was about to begin! Hundreds of band members going by, beautiful floats (decorated with all kinds of fragrant flowers), clowns, horses, and so much more. It was a kid's delight!

(But those Cavemen from Southern Oregon were always there in the parade to scare us to death. They were great ambassadors of their community. But, as both my sister and I remember, SCARY, too!)

My sister Nancy and I would especially be anxious to see the Queen of Rosaria and all the Princesses. As the years would go by, we both took great interest in the selecting of the Queen and the pageantry that went along with the Coronation.

Year after year we were there in front of the Davis Building watching that parade!

When our grandparents moved to other locations downtown, we'd still go early and get a spot to watch our favorite parade. When my sister and I were older, my father would take us down to watch the parade while my mother worked. She missed many parades, but attended many again after her retirement.

My mother, Lorraine (Hobbs) Hagoes, was nearly chosen as Lincoln High School's representative to the Court of Rosaria! She was first runner-up, which meant that she was named May Fete Queen in 1939. We -- her children -- began to appreciate the old photos as we grew up. We loved looking at pictures of her on her throne with an escort, tiara, beautiful dress and flowers. She was a lovely queen that spring. Maybe that's why she loved the Rose Festival so much. I believe she started a legacy of tradition with her family that continues to this day!

As I grew up, married and had children, our quest for the greatest spot to watch the parade moved to Martin Luther King boulevard and a spot in front of Lyon's Restaurant. It was perfect! We'd arrive around 6:00 a.m., go in and have breakfast, and fill up on pancakes and other goodies to keep us full during the long wait.

Weather was usually good -- as I remember -- so that made it pleasant to wait. But one year -- while pregnant with my first child -- the sky opened up and poured. We wore garbage bags to keep us dry! But, the spirit was always there. I can still hear my father say, "Don't worry, it's just a shower!" And the parade always came on time, right at 10:00! Rain and other concerns melted away with the excitement we felt...

Today, I don't attend the parade as often as I used to. But my sister attends many of the events each year. We enjoy the Float Display -- and hearing which high school the new Queen is from! The Rose Festival has always been a fixture in our lives -- and probably will be for the rest of our lives. It's a constant -- an event to look forward to each June! Schedules are set by the Parade date. No one really cares about the weather. We would be there, no matter what! No doubt my five grandchildren will make their own memories each year...

What a history we have in our festival! 100 years. How quickly they have gone by!

Happy Birthday to Portland's Rose Festival!

~Carolyn (Hagoes) Wilson (of NE Portland)