April 21st, 2007

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'Jack Be Nimble,' Marilyn Be Quick!

In the spring of 1947, I was a 4th grade student at MacArthur School in Vanport, Oregon.

One day as I was walking home from school, a friend came running after me to tell me to come back to school, because this was the day for choosing the Rose Festival Princess from our school.

Marilyn -- 4th grade student
Marilyn in the 4th grade

After being weighed, measured and lined up, all of us who qualified were told we would have to recite a poem for the judges. Apparently I didn't know an appropriate poem so that my voice could be judged -- and it required some urging that I say something! Finally someone suggested that I repeat the nursery rhyme, "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Jack jump over the candlestick."

I did this, and it was enough for me to be named as the Princess!

However, "Jack be nimble" didn't carry me through the next competition -- the one that selected the Princess who would represent all three of the schools in Vanport!

Marilyn today
Marilyn today

But this experience did lead to a lifelong interest in the Rose Festival -- plus quite a collection of scrapbooks. The earliest scrapbook was saved by my mother -- who added it to a box of 'memories' as we were escaping the Vanport Flood just a year later.

~Marilyn (Nelson) Paulson (of Independence, Oregon)
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A Tradition of Grand Floral Parade Float Riders

Back in 1935, Margaret DeJardin from Gervais, Oregon was a young office worker at Hirsch-Weiss (later to become White Stag). The company had come out with a new ski outfit and wanted to showcase it -- so they sponsored a float in the Grand Floral Parade and selected Marnie (Margaret) to ride on the float and model the new outfit.

She was the toast of the company and her family, to be sure!

23 years later in 1958, her daughter, Catherine Manion, was a co-ed at the University of Portland. Cathy was also a lovely girl -- and the Home Coming Queen on the Bluff that year. That same year U of P accepted the challenge of entering a float in a special category in that year's Grand Floral Parade.

The main attraction of the float was to be their beautiful Home Coming Queen, Cathy Manion. The theme celebrated the recent addition of women and ROTC to the student body.

I was one of many students who spent long nights and countless hours building and decorating that float. When the 'big day' arrived, we realized the driver placement didn't allow adequate visibility to steer the potentially treacherous parade route!

So we poked a hole in the front of the float and I "clung to the rigging" - directing the driver when to turn and maintain the speed to keep up the pace from inside the structure. I was also charged with keeping Cathy supplied with water and ice cream, as it was a very hot ride on a very sunny day!

I won't try to tell you it was love at first sight there at the parade, but at the end of our college careers Cathy and I were married -- and have been for 46 years!

At least three of our four children have worked decorating floats in subsequent parades, though we've never had another float rider.

The upcoming generation of our grandchildren is all boys, so maybe the run started by my mother-in-law Marnie has run its course! Needless to say, we have a long standing connection with the parade -- and many fond memories.

~Gene Comfort
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We Were Winners in the 1951 Junior Rose Festival Parade

Fifty-six years ago my friend Carol Panzer Cranmer and I won a FIRST PRIZE in the Junior Rose Festival Parade!

We've talked about the parade contest as one of the best memories in our sixty-two year friendship. As the story goes, we'd been in a couple of junior parades with our Brownie troop, and now were ready for our own entry.

The festival theme that year was "Do You Remember?"

Remember what? The old days? To us, even our parents seemed old! What could be remembered at our age? We were only ten years old. It was hard to think of something, so we decided to do some research about the various parade categories.

We discovered that Sylvia's Italian Restaurant was giving a doll to the First Place winner of the 'baby buggy' contest -- and we wanted that doll! Now we just needed an old buggy...

In Carol's attic was a wicker baby buggy that had been her Father's. It was old and just perfect for the theme. With the help of our parents, we gathered the right costumes. I was the tallest, so I dressed in a formal morning coat worn in Germany by Carol's Great-Grandfather, August Sladek. Carol wore the long, yellow lace dress her mother had worn as Princess Marceline Larson in the Vancouver, Washington Regatta Parade of 1933.

Next we sought flowers for decoration. We were delighted when business friends of O.E. Panzer Florist donated 300 red American Beauty roses! At last our entry was exactly right -- and we both remember taking turns carrying the blue ribbon the length of the parade.

Carol and Nancy and their winning entry - 1951 Junior Parade

I was proud of what we'd achieved. We even got to meet Sylvia herself when we picked up the doll.

Although it was fifty-six years ago, I still think about that Junior Rose Festival Parade. Recently I viewed some old colored slides of other Junior Parades and Grand Floral Parades. These slides were taken 60-66 years ago. The pictures show the floats and bands, but more importantly they show my family and friends sitting on the curb watching the parade.

Nancy's scrapbook shows the winning ribbon and a photo from the Junior Parade

On these same curbs my husband and I sat with our children to watch the parade. And perhaps this year we'll be there once again with our grandsons.

Nancy and Carol in 2001

My friend Carol doesn't live in Oregon now and hasn't been to a Rose Festival parade in many years. But 56 years later the two of us are still friends -- and are still laughing about how much fun we had on our day in the Junior Parade!

~Nancy Hoover
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A Great Friendship -- Thanks to Rose Festival!

"What is a GREAT friendship?"

To me, it's a friendship with a lady I met back in 1957. I was in third and Robyn was in second grade -- and we met as Junior Rose Festival Princesses.

Suzy and Robyn -- serving on the 1957 Junior Rose Court

Fifty years later we're still friends -- though she never wastes an opportunity to remind me that I'm a whole year older than she! It's not just the longevity that's important to us, but the multitude of memories and caring we've shared during all these years...

Robyn was always special to me because we had mutual birthdays on March 30. My Mom invited her to my tenth birthday slumber party, where we stayed up most of the night playing 'King of the Mattress' -- a land version of king of the dock (where you have a pillow fight and try to be the last one on the bed). The next year Robyn invited me to her house. We kept alternating 'birthday houses' until I was in eighth grade. Back then I was a Junior Dance Instructor for the Norm Stoll Dance Studio in the Hollywood District and Robyn attended with several of her friends to take lessons. Since a couple of the guys -- Jim and Steve -- were real 'hotties,' it was a mutual decision that Robyn would throw the parties from then on and have dance music (though the had to leave before the slumber party began).

We both went away to college and 'missed' a few years in the process. Robyn went to Oregon Institute of Technology and I went to Seattle University. She met the man of her dreams and got married, while I flew for TWA International and finally graduated from the University of Washington as an Architect. I met my significant other and we moved back to Portland to start a family. Though Robyn was a year younger she had a jump start on me, as she was a homeowner with one baby girl (and another on the way). It was so special to me to have her and Dan at my first housewarming!

Three years later I, too, had a baby girl. Since I needed to keep my full time job -- and even though she was busy herself with her home-based business -- Robyn agreed to baby-sit my daughter for the first two years. She made a dream come true and didn't let me miss a beat in my daughter's development, taking pictures of important moments (like my baby's first tooth and first hairbow).

Suzy and Robyn today

Now the kids are grown and on their own. I've been to Robyn's daughters' weddings and baby showers and she attended my daughter's wedding. We're both very busy with our lives, but never too busy to celebrate our birthdays together each year!

Thanks to the Rose Festival we've had a unique and special friendship all through our lives.

~Suzy Sivyer
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Twirling in the Junior and Grand Floral Parade in the 1950's

Back in the 1950's I belonged to a baton twirling group -- and we marched in the both the Junior and Grand Floral parades!

I remember marching in the rain lots of times -- but keeping that smile going no matter what.

Everyone could find a place to sit right in the front row in those days without having to save places.

Unfortuately my sister doesn't go to many of the parades these days -- but she was always forced to go along when I was in the parades, whether she wanted to or not!

The floats weren't quite as creative back then, but the excitement and beauty was the same!

~Patricia Foglio (Cerruti)
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Small Town Marchers in the 1961 Grand Floral Parade

Back in 1960, the citizens of the small mill town and cattle community of Long Creek (located on highway 395 between Pendlton and John Day) were told that if we could raise $5,500 we'd be able to march in the Grand Floral Parade.

The target was April of 1961, which was my senior year year in high school.

We were a very poor town, but we got right in to wash cars and clean chicken coops. That didn't last very long! So as a main money raiser, the ladies all pitched in at the school lunch room and made maple bars to sell. They sold these five for a dollar on Wednesdays and Fridays. The ladies claimed that by April of '61 they'd made enough maple bars to stretch to the moon and back!

Anyway, everyone in Long Creek pitched in -- and we made the $5,500 we needed!

We all loaded on an old school bus for the adventure of a lifetime. We went through Pendlton and drove over 300 miles.

For most of us this was the first time out of Grant County. We stayed at the Benson Hotel, another first. On parade day we were taken to the Beaver Baseball Park, which I remember looked as large as an alfalfa field!

The day of the parade was very hot -- and we were wearing wool suits! I was the biggest boy in high school, so I was picked to pack a big, wooden bass drum. We would played our tunes -- and every block we had to dance a little jig. I have to admit that after two miles of this, I finally refused to dance. The majorette was mad at me, but I assured her that as I'd just graduated high school she could "sit on it."

It was a trip to remember. (But I haven't seen the parade since!)

~Charles Derrick
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My Memories of Rose Festival Through the Years

It's been many years since I was measured to see if I met the height requirements for the Junior Court back in the fifties at Woodstock School.

Later, as a student at Cleveland, I remember that every year I'd watched the girls who tried out for the honor of being school Princess.

I also remember going to the Fun Center (then located in the park blocks) and riding the double ferris wheel, while feeling both scared and thrilled as I looked out over the tree tops.

I recall seeing many Junior Parades, with hundreds of marching children on Sandy boulevard. I was so excited to see Heck Harper, Rambling Rod, Sally Field, Don Schollander, and the very long 'Roman era' float that was covered with animals and colorful flowers in the Grand Floral Parade. I remember feeling proud when the American flag and honor guard passed by and everyone would stand to praise and applaud our people in the military.

I've thought of many themes to suggest for each new festival, but have only had the courage to submit a few! I also recall the time I took my two daughters to their first Junior Parade with the cotton candy, clowns and those beautiful, huge Clydesdales!

And last -- but certainly not least -- was the pride my husband and I felt to see both our daughters, Alisha and Sara, honored by their classmates when they each served on Franklin high school courts (trying out for the Rose Festival Court). Plus the joy of having Alisha serve as Franklin's Princess on the 1988 Rose Festival Court.

I was feeling that same first time excitement of the bands, parades, flags and flowers -- but this time I was watching my kids on the thrill rides.

Thank you for letting me reminiscent!

~Dottie Ritner
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Trying Out for the Junior Court in 1954

In 1954 I tried out for the Junior Rose Court at Oakley Green Grade School in NE Portland. We were chosen to represent Immaculate Heart Grade School in the area competition. I remember my dress was rose pink -- and that all the girls' dresses were different colors. I also remember they picked this one for me because they said it would look nice with my black hair and pink cheeks!

I was so proud -- and so-o-o thrilled to get to hold onto Stanley Luty's arm, as I had a huge crush on him!

Myra Pfenning and Stanley Luty in 1954

The little necklace I'm wearing in the photo was given to us to wear during competition -- and then to keep. I still have it! And guess what? I can still remember the poem (speech) I had to recite, plus the 'official princess curtsey' that I had to learn. It really made me feel special!

We didn't win, but what a wonderful experience! It made me a lifelong fan of the Rose Festival!

I took my three children to the Junior Parade every year -- and we still wouldn't miss the Grand Floral Parade!

I'm sorry that we don't have this wonderful Junior Court tradition anymore -- it was such a very special time for me. I lost track of Stanley when he moved a couple of years later and would love to look him up sometime.

Thanks for the memories -- and for this chance to relive them!!!

~Myra Kay (Veenker) Pfenning
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Serving as Queen during Rose Festival's Diamond Jubilee Celebration in 1983

My Rose Festival story took place during the Diamond Jubilee celebration -- the 75th anniversary of the Rose Festival back in 1983.

I was selected to represent Lincoln high school on the Rose Festival Court -- and later selected as Queen during this special year of celebration. I couldn't have been prouder.

My most vivid memory is of an event that was small, not part of the larger community, but incredibly poignant. The court visited many communities, associations, civic groups, employers, retirement communities and hospitals. One afternoon we visited the pediatric patients at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The court fanned out and chatted with patients and their families -- and then came together to crown a queen among the patients. I will never forget placing a tiara on the head of a beautiful little girl. Her eyes sparkled and her smile was incredible. Someone from the Oregonian took a picture as the new little queen and I hugged and the joy on both of our faces is obvious.

As young women at the time we weren't always aware of the impact our visits had on others. But in retrospect I take the most pride from those visits -- pride in the smiles and moments of happiness that our group of young women brought to others. That young girl at Doernbecher Hospital truly felt the magic of Rose Festival on that day -- and I felt the magic of being a queen.

-Kira (Rembold) Cador
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Kicking Off 'Summer Fun' with the Rose Festival

I'm an Oregon native, born and raised in Portland. I have several fond memories of the Grand Floral Parade. Rose Festival time was always a great way to kick off our summer fun!

As a child I would sit on my father's shoulders to view the parade, usually viewing it from the East side of the route. We'd park under the bridge and walk with the crowd toward the parade route, a blanket and chairs in tow.

I was like every child, pestering my parents for cotton candy, a big balloon, or a goofy animal on a stick -- and one year I lucked out and my dad bought me a furry monkey on a stick. I got to wave it and annoy all the parade watchers beside me! The tossed saltwater taffy was always the highlight provided by float riders.

I've most enjoyed hearing and seeing the local high school bands, and more recently the One More Time Around Again Marching Band.

I made attending the Grand Floral Parade a tradition with my five children. Though we now live in Tacoma, Washington, I'd always take them down for the experience. This year I'll be attending with my 20-month-old granddaughter and oldest daughter!

Thank you Rose Festival Association for all the fond memories and happy times over my 48 years!

~Marguerite (Reeves) Oelrich (David Douglas - Class of '75)
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The One More Time Around Again Marching Band -- and My First Baton!

I must have been almost five years old when I saw my first Grand Floral Parade. My Great Aunt had rented a room in the Clifford Hotel, and we watched the parade from a window as it passed by on Morrison near Grand Avenue. I stood on a chair and observed the most wonderful sight -- there were rows of baton twirlers in white satin dresses and white boots with tassels. These rows went from the tallest to the very littlest in the very back. I was truly enchanted!

I loved the parade and begged my father for a baton -- and eventually he brought one home. It had a little book with basic twirls, and he learned to do some and then taught me. Then he sent me off to play. After learning all the basic twirls, I was clamoring for more. By age seven I was taking baton lessons and loving it. We had beautiful costumes of white satin with royal blue fringe, little white boots and majorette hats and performing in the Junior Parade was exciting and wonderful.

I went on to become a high school majorette (what there were called then). High school bands would lead their Princess into the Stadium (now PGE park) as part of the Coronation ceremony. And if your high school Princess was chosen Queen, then the school band was immediately elevated to be the 'Queen's Band' -- and had the honor of marching in front of the Court float in the Grand Floral Parade -- it was much coveted. Back then the Grand Floral Parade started at Civic Stadium. We'd march up the ramp and wind through downtown Portland, crossing a bridge to end up at Holiday Park. Getting those floats up the ramp wasn't easy! Tow trucks had to pull some to keep the parade flowing.

Twenty-two years ago, I joined a fledgling all-adult marching band as the one and only majorette. I had some concerns about stamina and talent after so many years but a 'parade horse' never loses that thrill! As a member of the Portland Rose Festival's very own 'One More Time Around Again Marching Band' I've enjoyed band trips to Pasadena, St. Petersburg, Seattle and San Antonio. After visiting other cities and participating in other parades, I must say that I think our Portland Rose Festival is run the best -- and has the cleanest parades, by far.

Little girls still gaze in awe -- and some just want to hold my baton for a minute or two. The magic of parades and baton twirling aren't lost on the little ones. We bring smiles to faces all along the route. I often hear people say, "You go girl" --and yes, we all do! The thrill isn't gone -- the Portland Rose Festival is still magical and exciting! Band members love the parades, the crowds and the cheering. Hard work and many practices have preceded performances in the Festival of Bands (now Concert in the Park), though it's disappointing to see the declining audiences. (Even the Rose Festival Princesses stopped attending some years back.)

I'm saddened by way the Rose Festival is perceived by many in the metro area. It seems like the first thing that comes to their minds is the Waterfront Park, a place to be avoided at all costs. In days gone by the primary focus of the Festival were the parades and the coronation. May the Centennial year look back and pick the 'best of the best' to bring freshness to our Festival -- and increase community involvement and support.

~Patti Waitman-Ingebretsen
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Watching the Grand Floral Parade on the Burnside Bridge with our Extended Family

My family and I have lived in Portland almost all our lives, so attending the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade is one of our BIG traditions. I actually played the drums in for Parkrose High School's appearance in the parade back in 1977.

After getting married, my wife Nancy and I started attending the parade every year -- sitting in the exact same spot. For 18 straight years we've sat in the same spot on Burnside bridge.

Every year I save our spot, because we invite many friends and family to join us. We typically have 25-30 people in our party. When my girls were around six years old, our tradition was to sleep overnight in the back of our van, a couple blocks east off Burnside. Then we'd arise at 5:00 a.m. and go sit in our spot, complete with a number of chairs marked off for the others who would be joining us later.

One year, two of my teen girls and I slept ON the bridge in our actual spot -- but that was a bad idea, since every time a truck crossed it woke us up! And we were also were bothered by several transients lifting our covers to see who was there! So sleeping overnight by the bridge became part of the tradition and fun and the girls would look forward to it for months prior to Rose Fesitval!

Over the years we became friends with several of the other spectators on the bridge, who also marked their same spot each year. We became much like a family, reconnecting once each year.

By the way, we've been TRUE Portlanders who aren't scared off by the rain, wind, or cold! One year while we were away from our spot getting breakfast, strong winds and rain pummeled our canopy -- and it started to fly up over Burnside Bridge and on to I-5 below! When we returned, several others close to our spot related how they'd raced for our canopy and grabbed it just as it was ready to fall on to I-5! Once again, it was just like a family, with everyone looking out for each other -- and participating in this rich Portland tradition together!

My family (Nancy, Amy, Manda and Annie) and I are happy to do anything to promote Portland and this wonderful Rose Festival tradition! Absolutely. By the way, we don't let the current bridge construction 'rain on our parade' (HA!) -- we still watch from nearby.

~Rick Ralston
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The Cavemen of the 1953 Grand Floral Parade

Many years ago, Grants Pass, Oregon had cavemen who marched in the Grand Floral Parade -- capturing women along the route and holding them in a cage for a block or two before releasing them. They didn't look like the Geico commercial caveman we see today -- they looked like the pictures we used to see of men with leopard skin costumes that barely covered the necessities who carried ugly-looking clubs! They scared everyone with their looks and actions to match...

In 1953 our family was enjoying the beautiful floats when suddenly my sister-in-law was grabbed by a caveman and hustled away. Her 5-year-old son began screaming, "Mama, mama!" It wasn’t until we saw her running back to us a few minutes later, laughing all the way, that he stopped!

Now, 50+ years later, there are no cavemen in Grants Pass. The city has adopted cleverly-constructed artistic bears, soldiers and eagles. It's a very nice improvement, but I’ll never forget 1953!

~Willa Johnson
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My Portland Rose Festival Memories

My experience with the Portland Rose Festival Association (1976-2007) has been a very significant part of my life. There are a lot of wonderful memories, but the most remarkable and memorable was my being chosen the First Woman President. Maybe it's hard to believe in today's society, but to choose a woman President in 1993 was a very extraordinary decision after 86 years of male dominance. A few of the men tried to give me a hard time, but eventually we all saw eye to eye -- and the year was most productive and positive. With a fantastic Board, Volunteers, Courts (Senior and Junior) and an unbelievable Staff, it was easy from the get-go.

I loved the opportunities of meeting the people who produce and are connected to other National Festivals in the United States and Taiwan. What a great honor for me to have associated with the court and dignitaries at the Pendleton Round-Up, Fiesta San Antonio, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Aqua Festival in Austin, Texas, Florida's St. Petersburg Festival, Seattle's Seafair, visiting Kaohsiung, Taiwan and many more. What a thrill to know that everyone connected with PRFA and I contributed to help make our Portland Rose Festival one of the top Festivals in the World.

Thanks for the great and unforgettable memories...

Gerri Tisdel

~Gerri Tisdel (President, 1993)
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Thanks for the Smelling Salts!

In 1946 as a sixteen-year-old, I was watching the Grand Floral Parade with sisters and friends, standing in a parking lot. It was a very hot day. I actually passed out from the heat -- and some kind ladies got smelling salts out of their car and waved them in front of my nose to bring me out of my heat exhaustion.

Then in 1947 as a seventeen-year-old, I ended up the Rose Festival Princess from Jefferson High School, riding in luxury on the Queen's float! Perhaps I even waved to those kind ladies from the year before!

~Elaine Mickelson Stamm (1947 Jefferson Princess)
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One of My Rose Festival Memories -- the Queen's Coronation

When I think of the Rose Festival, I think of many special times throughout my life. One of my fondest childhood memories is of the Queen's Coronations.

In 1961 when I was about nine years old, my mother introduced me to one of her favorite Rose Festival events -- the Queen's Coronation. I grew up in Sherwood, Oregon, so Portland was 15 miles away. But my mother brought the spirit and realm of Rosaria right into our home throughout the Rose Festival! She bought me a scrapbook, and with each new Rose Festival Princess selected and featured, I would excitedly clip the article and picture from the Oregonian and tape it inside.

There was also a special page designated and waiting in my scrapbook for the picture of the newly crowned Rose Festival Queen!

For several years during the 1960's on that special evening in June, my mother and I would sit together to hear the Queen's Coronation on the radio. We'd listen to the articulate, uplifting speeches, woven with hope and enthusiasm -- as we imagined the graceful curtsies, regal Rose Festival waves and actual selection of the Queen of Rosaria, an occasion steeped in tradition, grace and roses.

~Kathryn Anderson Schach
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Memories of a 1974 Rose Festival Princess

I was selected from the St. Mary's court -- and had to win the Independent selection as well -- in order to be a Princess back in 1974. I was amazed and impressed at the generosity of the citizens of Portland and the state of Oregon.

We had so many civic activities -- and I was instrumental in the writing of our court song. We all had such a great time! From riding elephants in Winston, to the parades, luncheons and opening the festival -- we seemed to be everywhere at once.

It was a whirlwind, it was exhilarating and it was tiring, too -- many times we catnapped between activities.

I loved when we were able to meet the people who were so generous to us, Mr. Stevens of Stevens and Sons gave us all a beautiful silver rose pin and the clothes of our wardrobe were wonderful and showcased Meier & Frank, Pendelton and Jantzen.

We had the best Rosarians and I loved our chaperone, but my personal favorite to this day is our beloved Hillman Lueddemann! He's not only generous and a gentleman, but he continues to remember us and shows interest in our individual lives.

~Alexandra (Gorman) Carney
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Romance with a Canadian Sailor -- Thanks to the Rose Festival

It was Rose Festival 2000 when an unlikely pair met and fell in love.

She was new to Portland, seeking a new beginning -- and he was just visiting. They would have never met otherwise! She came from Wyoming -- looking for a fresh start and pursuing new career. Troy Routley was a Canadian sailor aboard the HMCS Saskatoon -- from Esquimalt, British Columbia -- experiencing his second Rose Festival that year. It was her first Rose Festival, as she just missed the one from the previous year -- the first one he had attended.

She and her roommate walked into the super busy Kell's Irish Pub on Friday, June 9. He was sitting at a table with other sailors, but there was one empty seat at his table -- it was the only empty seat in the entire pub.

She simply walked up to the table, introduced her roommate and herself and asked to sit down. They shook hands as she sat down next to him.

They went out again the very next night and he sailed away one day later with promises to keep in touch... Luckily, he was a yeoman for the ship and in charge of communications -- so they emailed and phoned almost daily.

December of that year he purposed on bended knee (on a red velvet pillow) -- a night she would never forget!

He gave up being a Canadian sailor and immigrated to be with her. In June of 2001 they were married -- and this year they are happily celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary. They have a three-year-old son.

(Yes, the girl in this story is me...)

~Melody (Zimmerman) Routley
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Rose Festival -- An Important Part of My Life

During my childhood the Rose Festival was an important part of my life -- from trying out for Junior Princess to attending the St. Johns and Grand Floral parades, it's something I'll always remember!

So many years I enjoyed going to the St. Johns parade [the first parade appearance of the Rose Court]. My grandparents lived down the street from the parade route, and we'd go to their house early, then walk up to the parade. We'd always sit across the street from the bakery, and eat apple slices and cheese while we watched the parade.

Both of my grandparents have passed away now -- and the Rose Festival will always remind me of them, and how much fun we would have going to the events each year.

I hope that one day when I have children we can go and enjoy the parades and everything else the the Rose Festival has to offer.

~Gena Horine
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Going Door-to-Door For Flowers to Decorate Floats

I grew up in Multnomah, and as a young girl I went door-to-door collecting flowers for our annual Multnomah float -- and then helped decorate it at our local fire station.

We are native pioneer family Oregonians -- and the Rose Festival has been a part of our lives for all of our 70+ years.

All of our five children have watched and/or marched in both the Junior and Grand Floral Parades. Rose Festival memories are some of our happiest ever!

Thank you, Portland!

~Pat Klum
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My Rose Festival Scrapbook Collection

I'm excited about the upcoming Centennial celebration and wanted to let you know about my collection. Ever since I was a small child, I've saved clippings of Rose Festival events from local newspapers, including the Oregon Journal and the Portland Reporter as well as the Oregonian.

My scrapbooks cover all of the major festival events back to 1960, though I do have some pictures of the Grand Floral Parade from 1959 as well. Unfortunately, my mother (who didn't appreciate all the 'clutter') and my little brother (who was a year old at the time) conspired against me -- and some of my clippings were lost or damaged. Otherwise my scrapbooks would go back to about 1957 or '58!

One of the most interesting things about looking through the books is seeing different events come and go -- and seeing how the festival has evolved over the years. But my favorite part has always been the selection of the Princesses (Ambassadors), and the Queen's Coronation. It's fun to see how clothing and hairstyles have changed in almost 50 years! And you have no idea how badly I wanted to be one of those princesses!

The year that the theme was "I Wish I Were..." I wanted to enter the "I Wish I Were Rose Festival Queen" contest, but I was too young by only five months! (And we lived in the suburbs, so I went to the 'wrong' high school -- and never got a chance to try out for princess.)

Thank you so much, Rose Festival, for all you do for Portland!

~Kathy Shaffer
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Engaged During Rose Festival 2005

I'm delighted to say that I got engaged during Rose Festival 2005.

He didn’t propose to me on the square, but the Heathman was wonderful! In 2006 I was married during Rose Festival at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. We took a handsome cab through the park blocks and up Broadway and our reception was at the Broadway Bistro. Friends flew into Portland for the wedding that hadn’t seen me since high school.

This year we'll be at Rose Festival again! (My husband lived in Portland many years and we are planning to make it our home as soon as we can.)

~Connie Kelley-Seymour
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Memories from 1960 Rose Festival Princess Barbara Bennett Peterson

I was Madison high school's Rose Festival Princess in 1960. My favorite memory was visiting the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children, which inspired me to go on to become a teacher.

For thirty years (from 1967 to 1997) I was a Professor of History at the University of Hawaii. Then after retirement, I served as a Professor of History at Oregon State University from 2000 to 2003.

Seeing the children who were so eager and bright eyed in spite of their physical challenges largely due to polio or birth defects at the Shriner's Hospital -- and receiving their warm embraces of welcome for all the princesses -- I pledged to serve others through both university teaching and community philanthropy.

I simply want to say: "Thank you, Rose Festival, for launching me in a public career as a role model for young people -- and for giving me an appreciation of others' diversity, adversity, and for giving me the strength to aid people in need."

~Barbara Bennett Peterson
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Rider on a 1907 Float

You cannot imagine my surprise upon opening today's Metro section [The Oregonian, January 1, 2007] and seeing the same photograph I have hanging in my home office.

Beatrice Lilly on horse-drawn float in front of the Forestry Center

In 1907, my Grandmother, Beatrice Lilly, was on that horse-drawn float in front of the Forestry Center (whose site I live very close to today).

Beatrice's daughter, Susan Grout Chilton, had the pictures reprinted for family members.

Thank you so much for a great New Year's surprise!

~Gretchen Chilton Mills
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Riding a Float and Dancing for the Queen's Coronation in 1934

Back in 1934, I was a dance student in the Wagner & Huston Dance Studio. I was also a niece of Francis Huston, who was one of the partners.

My grandmother and another aunt had booths at the Co-op Farmer's Market located on SW Yamhill Street in downtown Portland. My cousin and I -- along with other dance students -- rode on the Co-op Farmer's Market float in the Grand Floral Parade.

Betty on the 1934 Farmer's Co-Op Float

Betty on the 1934 Farmer's Co-Op Float -- Close-up

Later that day they had the Queen's Coronation, and we preformed a dance as part of the evening's entertainment. It was held in the Multnomah Stadium (now the PGE park). In the middle of the field they built a large wooden floor that could be used for a stage.

We were so proud to be part of the Rose Festival festivities! I was nine years old at the time. (As you can see the floats were not as fancy as they are today.)

~Betty Jean (Otness) Englert
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Parade Memories from Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington

In 1955, Vancouver, Washington entered a float in the Portland Rose Parade with the theme "Anna and the Kind of Siam." Then a Clark College student, I was selected to portray 'Anna' at tryouts held by the Vancouver float committee. Four Vancouver high school girls were chosen to be harem girls. (Vancouver had only one high school at that time.) Vancouver's float won the Sweepstakes award in the parade. It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine and I remember getting a sunburn -- and how much my face ached after the parade from the miles and miles of smiling.

The most embarrassing thing was that the guy who played 'The King' -- he was constantly flexing his chest muscles, one at a time. Those muscles were BIG, and it almost looked like he needed a bra! (In the 50's this was a bit much to have to look at for a couple of hours.)

Battle Ground entered a float that year with a horse and decorated buggy to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of 'the battle that didn't happen, but could have.' That city [Battle Ground] -- my city -- has entered a float every year since then! In fact, we even won the 2006 Sweepstakes award. (And had also previously won the Fred Meyer Kids' Sweepstakes Award.)

When my oldest son Ron Allworth was a baby, we bundled him up, put him in a dresser drawer in the back seat of the car and headed to the warehouse of the Darigold processing plant in Portland. (We didn't own a car bed, and car seats weren't even on the drawing boards in those days.) Because a cheese factory was operating in full swing in Battle Ground at the time, we had an 'in' with Darigold, who purchased many dairy products.

Battle Ground's first floats were built in Battle Ground, but all the decorating was done in Portland at the last minute -- and into the wee hours of the morning of the parade. The flower glues we used then worked very well, but the fumes and smells were atrocious! No environmental regulations in the 'good" old days.'

I've worked on Battle Ground's entries off and on (mostly on) since about 1958 -- and my husband Bill and I served as co-chairmen of the Battle Ground Float Committee for 7 years. We still work on the float today.

~Louise (McKay) Tucker
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Mother's Fascination with the Rose Festival Court

I never figured out what my sainted mother saw in the annual late-spring contest to pick a Rose Festival queen from among the girls at Portland's high schools. Maybe she followed the voting and the elaborate announcements as closely as she did because it was her one connection to the frivolous outside world. As a housewife in the most traditional sense -- dedicated to a meat-and-potatoes husband and two sons (the sons often fighting for the larger portion of apple pie at dinner) -- she found the selections process each year a pleasant (if uncharacteristic) diversion.

The Rose Festival dates to 1907, and for most of those years it has featured a Queen and her court. (Though from 1908 until 1913 there was a king [Rex Oregonus] who reigned, according to Percy Maddux in his "City on the Willamette" - Binfords & Mort, Portland, 1952.)

It was in 1930 that the practice of picking Princesses and a Queen took hold...

As each school (on successive days), picked a beaming beauty, the Portland papers (there were three of them then -- and we took the Oregon Journal) ran a huge front-page halftone in black and white. (There was no color printing in the papers except in the Sunday comics.) The photo appeared with a long feature story, written with breathless admiration.

Mother carefully cut out the pictures and stories as they appeared and kept them on top of the radio to check from time to time -- especially on the night when the girls appeared at an event that was broadcast on radio to answer the usual questions (about solving pressing social and economic problems). Which Princess would be named Queen? It was a big night for Mother as she listened. (TV in the Portland area was still a decade or two away.)

She would have been bemused at the later criticism of this contest, the change from "princess" to "ambassador" (or "representative") -- at least this year we are back to the more honest 'princess' again -- and the relegating of winners to cramped space on inside pages. She didn't consider herself one to turn heads, even in her younger days. Even so, she did consider the gift of beauty as no less worthy than the gifts of intelligence, athletic ability -- and even child-raising savvy or prowess in the kitchen.

~Roy Paul Nelson (of Durham, Oregon)