April 23rd, 2007

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The 1952 Junior Prime Minister and Riding on the Sweepstakes Float

In 1952, my brother Dennis Brandon was elected Junior Prime Minister for the Rose Festival.

Back in those days they had a complete Junior Rose Court that included both Princes and Princesses and a Queen and Prime Minister.

1952 Court dancing the Hokey Pokey
(The 1952 Junior Court dances the Hokey Pokey)

Beautiful little Alice Whitton was chosen as Queen and Dennis was her Prime Minister escort. Together with the Junior Princesses and Princes, they ruled over the Junior Parade and made many public appearances.

1952 Junior Queen and Prince

They also got to ride on a float in the Grand Floral Parade.

That same year I was chosen to ride on the front of the Meier and Frank float, which won the Sweepstakes award. It was titled "The Circus Comes To Town." I remember it was so much fun to ride and was a very long float.

Dennis and I also got to perform with brother Ron and sister Aloha with our singing act called The Brandon Four. We sang at almost all the functions where the Junior Court appeared. That year we were joined by the youngest Brandon sibling, Kathy, who officially made us the Brandon Five.

The Brandon Five in 1952

This was a very memorable Rose Festival year for our family! We've cherished the memories through the years and have since been to the Grand Floral Parade many, many times.

Dennis currently lives with lovely wife Lynn in Las Vegas, Nevada and is recently retired. Ron still lives in Portland and retired a few years ago from Blunt Chainsaw manufacturers. Aloha passed away in 2004 and Kathy and I live with our families in the Austin, Texas area.

We'll never forget our life in Portland -- and the wonderful memories of the 1952 The Rose Festival!

~Linda (Brandon) Lewis
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Little Girl Not Thrilled to Win a Boy's Prize at 1958 Junior Parade

Pat, Norman and I entered the 1959 Junior Parade. We grew up in the Hollywood district where the Junior Parade took place, so we participated every year.

Pat, Mary and Norman Blevins

My other sister, Kathleen (not pictured) always entered the parade with a bicycle decorated with flowers.

Most years I entered as an 'Indian princess' in the Cowboys and Indians category.

Mary in 1958 -- with her ribbon and glove

Once -- when I was six (in 1958) -- I won a boy's haircut from a local barber! Then they decided to give me a boy's baseball glove instead -- I wasn't thrilled.

We also went to the Grand Floral Parade many times, but my favorite was the Merrykhana Parade [discontinued in 1973], which I believe is now the Starlight Parade [it was replaced by the Starlight Parade in 1976].

The Merrykhana was a fun parade and my favorite entry was one where they barbequed chicken wings on a float, put them into little waxed bags and threw them out to the crowd.

~Mary Blevins
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Rose Festival a Part of Her Life Since Birth

The Rose Festival -- and especially the Grand Floral Parade -- has always been a part of my life. "Susie's first Grand Floral" was a notation placed in my baby book!

Growing up in a music loving family, I attended each parade until time to leave for sights beyond. My job on Junior Parade day as a child was to haul the piano bench on my wagon up to 33rd Street near us, in order to reserve a place for the family to watch.

Soon it was time to enter high school and march the parades with the Grant High School Band! And our class chose not only a princess my graduating year, but the Queen, Linda Jean Jackson.

Sue in her high school band uniform

Now nearly a life later, I am reliving those wonderful memories of the Grand Floral Parade by marching with the One More Time Around Again Marching Band. This year will be my eighth exciting year!

Sue in the OMTAAMB

As a postscript, I fondly remember watching my grandfather preen his roses all spring -- and on show entry day selecting the very best in the early morning dew time to take to the Rose Show. And all of going down to the show to see if his rose won. (Sorry to say I can't remember if they did!)

Our family faithfully went to each Queen's Coronation, and my freshmen year it was such excitement to be on the floor of the Multnomah Stadium with the Queen walking through the mass bands, of which I was a part. (That was the last year it was held there.) Three years later, my girl friend and I screamed loudly at the Memorial Coliseum when our princess became queen -- this meant we'd automatically be the Queen's Band! The next morning the Grant high school band was on the tarmac at the airport with the court, welcoming some arriving dignitary.

And a lasting memory was proudly marching in front of the Court float during the Grand Floral Parade.

~Sue Starr