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July 12th, 2007

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He Has So Many Memories from the Past 63 Years

I have so many Rose Festival memories from the past 63 years that it's hard to know where to begin!

I was born and raised in Portland, and when I was a young child my mother or aunt always took us to see the Grand Floral Parade.

The first I remember was when my aunt's father (whom we were told was rich) took us kids to the parade. We were sitting in the center of downtown Portland and people kept throwing money out the windows of the highrises! We children quickly gathered up the loose change and I was counting it in the palm of my hand, when some mean boy knocked my hand from underneath and all my money was scattered! I started crying and my aunt's father consoled me with some one dollar bills. I thought I was rich!

As a kid I sold Oregonian newspapers along the street lining the parade route. I'd holler "Oregonian paper!" as loud as I could, and I ended up selling a lot because it was hot -- people were holding them to make shade after reading them!

Other times I would sell candy, peanuts and cotton candy, making a lot of money for back in the 1950's!

When I was old enough to take pictures, I remember some favorite parades, like the year that Heck Harper came. He was a favorite of all the kids because of his TV show. On his show he played the guitar and sang, but at the parade he was riding a real horse!

Then one of the biggest treats was the year the Mousketeers showed up -- Jimmie Dodd and all. We were really thrilled us when Bob Amsberry appeared as he was a local [born in Oregon] hero. But the frosting on the cake was seeing Karen and Cubby, Darlene and Lonnie -- and of course Doreen!

When I was older, Sally Field came to the parade. She was "Gidget," "The Flying Nun" and a movie star all rolled into one! I was especially excited because I'd just run into her while on a trip to Hollywood. I didn't get a chance for a picture in California, but the Grand Floral Parade gave me another chance.

One of the most memorable was 1964, the year our first daughter, Kristin, was born. My wife's water broke while we were walking around the Festival Center (which was then held at Lloyd Center park). I had to go to work, but that night our daughter was born. So the next day I went alone to the Junior Parade while my wife and baby girl slept.

~Gary Hagan (Vancouver, Washington)
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She Called the Royal Rosarians Little Men in White Suits

I have so many great festival memories!

One memory stands out for me and always makes me laugh. We -- the members of the 1951 Rose Festival Court -- were honored at a luncheon by the Kiwanis Club. As [Queen] Gloria Krieger was unable to speak, I was given an additional topic for my speech -- so I spoke twice to a large room filled with Kiwanis members, Royal Rosarians and other guests.

It was a happy day and everyone was relaxed, with the Festival events over.

In my speech I was to include a story, so I spoke about our many Royal Rosarian escorts as 'the little men in the white suits.' It was one of those slips that couldn't be covered up and people laughed uproariously. I don't remember how I made amends, but the entire crowd didn't stop laughing for a long time.

I'd like to dedicate the recipe for 'Gumdrop Cookies' I submited to the Centennial Cookbook ["Recipes & Roses" is available Here] to all the dear Rosarians who walked with us everywhere -- "To you, Royal and Loyal Rosarians!"

~Loie M. Mead (1951 Princess, Grant high school)
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Her Theme 'Set Sail for Fun' Won in 1988

One of my many memories of the Portland Rose Festival is from 1970. I
was fourteen years old, and that year I attended the Grand Floral Parade with my next door neighbors.

We went really early so we could be right in front to see everything. I was wearing my favorite yellow shirt and during the parade a clown came right up to me and sprayed purple ink all over it.

I was so mad!

I started watching the parade again, and about ten minutes later I looked down at my shirt and the purple stain was gone! The clown had used disappearing ink. I felt silly and happy at the same time.

Years later in 1988 I entered the Rose Festival theme contest and my entry "Set Sail For Fun" won!

I'll be downtown with my family at Waterfront Park again this June as usual, riding the rides, browsing through the tents, eating carnival treats and having fun.

~Cheryl White
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He Was a Success Selling Ice Cream for the 1959 Grand Floral Parade

When I ran into Richard [Rich] Jarvis at the Portland Farmers Market wearing his Rose Festival tee shirt, it made me think about Rose Festivals I attended during my school days in Portland -- especially the parade of 1959.

A friend of my brother who has always had a nose for entrepreneurial opportunities, called to see if I wanted to help peddle ice cream bars at the Grand Floral Parade. I was then a sophomore at Grant high school, so this meant a chance to make some quick cash -- and ride around with John Hanson on a Vespa motor scooter. I'd have settled for either!

As it turned out it was a beautiful day for a parade, and ice cream was just the thing to be selling. I believe the bars came from a facility near 33rd and Belmont.

Anyway, we sold out! It was my first successful retail experience after some earlier attempts to sell lemonade on the corner of 28th and Ainsworth and cold calling for Christmas Cards in August.

This was exhilarating!

Now when we develop our cherry products to sell at the Portland Farmers Market, I always think of that Rose Festival parade in 1959.

~Mike Shadbolt (Co-owner, Cherry Country in Rickreall, Oregon)
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Rose Festival Has Given Her and Her Family a Lifetime of Thrills and Excitement

The antics of my pet monkey in the Junior Parade 73 years ago is one of my fondest memories!

My Dad and I decorated a bassinet and wagon in lively floral colors, which I pulled along the parade route. My pet monkey -- dressed in baby clothes -- hopped in and out and delighted in entertaining those viewing. The laughter and appalause of the crowd was quite a thrill for a ten-year-old girl!

The day of the Grand Floral Parade became our reason for a yearly family reunion. The Imperial hotel (in downtown Portland) became our favored site, with a good view of the parade route. Along with my grandmother, we'd rent a room there almost every year -- right up until she was 101 years old!

Many of her ten children -- who were my Mom and my Aunts and Uncles -- plus lots of my cousins (and later our own children) would join her there to watch the parade from the hotel room as it passed on the street below.

What wonderful memories of fun and family and the excitement of the parade!

I'm now 83 years old, and the Grand Floral Parade continues to be an exciting family event. Though I lived in The Dalles most of my life -- and now live in Salem near children -- I still like to be there before daylight to stake out a spot on Broadway near the coliseum.

I've even been known to sleep in the car in order to be there early! I dearly miss the company of my beloved husband these past two years -- but my spirits come alive when the sun comes up and my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren join me there. I love every minute of it!

~Ann Bledsoe (Salem, Oregon)
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He Posed with Cowboy Grand Marshal Hopalong Cassidy in 1951

My heroes always had to be cowboys -- white hats, white horses and 'good guys' riding into the sunset.

The Grand Marshal of the Grand Floral Parade for 1951 was Hopalong Cassidy, riding his horse Topper. Black and white never matched up so good for this wide-eyed kid from the woods!

William Boyd was the real life man behind the character. My Grandfather, Phil Adams, and Boyd were pals. Bill and Phil made a childhood dream come true for this four-year-old. I was photographed posed on the saddle and wearing my Rose Festival best -- little Mickey Lyne!

The picture is now lost, but not the memories of that day. The sun was actually out and it was hot. The weather report way back for the Portland Rose Festival was always, "Rosey Red," according to my grandparents!

I never remember seeing a 'bad' Hopalong movie, but what did a kid like me know? A great deal, according to the 'Legend'!

~Mike Lyne
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She Took Her Grandmother and Great-Uncle to the 1987 Grand Floral Parade

The first time I took my grandmother and my great-uncle to the Rose Festival they were amazed!

They were farmers from a very small town of less than 3,000 people. So seeing more than 100,000 people in one place at one time had their mouths agape at the massive volume of people.

Then they viewed the 1987 Grand Floral Parade -- it was truly a highlight of their lives.

This year a man is flying here from South Africa, coming in early JUST to see the parade!

~Debbie Anderson
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He Can Recall the First Time He Saw the One Time Around Again Marching Band

I'm currently a member of the One More Time Around Again Marching Band -- I guess I'm still a newbie, as this is my fifth year!

I remember the first time I ever saw the band -- I believe it was 1990. Anyway, I'd taken my friends' 6-year-old to watch the parade and we were about 6-7 blocks up the street from one of the turns on the West side.

As sometimes happens at the latter half of the parade, there was a delay that was probably 5-10 minutes after viewing the last entry. There was some real anticipation building in the crowd, though I think the younger kids would have called it boredom -- they were out making more chalk drawings on the street!

We could hear a band a couple of blocks over heading our way, so we were all waiting.

Then at the far end of the street we could see the front flags and baton twirlers. Then came the dancers and finally the band rounded the corner and started to play "Louie Louie."

A sound reminiscent of 'the wave' that's done at ballparks around the country hit me as this roar came up the street preceding the band. But unlike 'the wave' the sound we heard never went away! And neither did the band. It was like the Energizer bunny, it kept going and going and going...

Now I'm a member of the band, and I still can't believe how big we are. Nor can I believe the effect the band has on crowds.

~Jon Read
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She Rode on a Bluebird Float in the Grand Floral Parade

In the early 1950's my Bluebird leader entered a float in the Grand Floral Parade. All of us little girls -- dressed up as bluebirds -- sat in a nest, watched over by two little boys posed on a branch, dressed as cats.

This was a homemade float, mounted on the back of a flatbed truck. I remember my parents and all the other parents scouring our neighborhoods for flowers to cover the float. They worked all night to decorate it.

It was truly a magic moment for a 7-year-old -- I still remember riding through the streets, giving the famous Rose Festival wave and holding the red ribbon we won for our category!

~Cathy Matern
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He Was One of the Last Benson Drivers in 1988

For years, Benson Polytechnic High School was responsible for providing the escorts/drivers for the Rose Festival Court, helping to get Princesses to various events.

Back in 1988, I (along with other Benson students) was part of the last 'all Benson' team that performed this duty.

After graduating from Benson I served in the Army for twelve years, including during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Joint Endeavor -- the NATO peacekeeping effort in Bosnia in 1995-96.

After leaving the Army in 2000, I joined the federal government were I currently work with Homeland Security at USNORTHCOM in Colorado Springs.

While our the part of the Rose Festival Drivers in the Rose Festival was relatively minor, it was a proud tradition at Benson high school that dates back many years. I hope you find this story worthy of mention as you celebrate the Centennial.

~Daniel Zuckerman, Benson Class of 1988 (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
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Watching Her Dad During the Grand Floral Parade Inspired Her

As a child, every year I'd sit on top of a six-foot wooden ladder that was 'old as the hills' to watch the Grand Floral Parade. We'd always park our '63 Blue Chevy (named 'Betsy') a couple blocks back on Lloyd Center Boulevard. Each year Mom, Dad and I would stake our claim on the same spot there on the corner of Grand and Lloyd.

Though when I look back I now realize it wasn't the safest place to be, what I liked about sitting up on top of a ladder was my amazing view of the parade! I was taller than everyone around me and I had my own viewing box, high in the sky. I thought I was so special and important being up there! Mom was always on the ladder a couple steps up from the ground, with Dad standing next to the ladder. He was 6'4", so he could see over all the heads!

For me, what made Rose Festival parades special wasn't so much watching the parade as seeing the parade watching my dad. At that time he was a celebrity in my eyes, working as a Portland Public School teacher. What I didn't know was how special he was to so many of the parade participants. Over and over, year after year, I can remember people on floats or marching in bands waving at my dad and calling "Hi Mr. Light!"

Yes, I thought I was a pretty special little girl sitting high on my ladder throne, but I was really a special girl who got to watch the people who waved at my dad -- the man who stood by the rickety ladder year after year.

Did he inspire his students so much that they sought him out each year among the parade spectators? How does someone end up that special to students? Well, I found out! Now I, too, am a Portland Public School teacher. Memories of Dad are inspiring and made attending the Grand Floral Parade a memorable time.

~LeAnn Light Kinnee (Sherwood, Oregon)
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As a Floral Designer She Helped Work on Grand Floral Parade Floats

For six years I worked as a floral designer for three different float builders. My job was to make some of the large bouquets on the floats.

When I bought the book ["Portland Rose Festival--For You a Rose in Portland Grows"] by local news personality, Mike Donahue, I was delighted and surprised to see a photo on the last page (page 102) of the Junior Court float I helped with.

Nadine Morris float

Right above it is this photo of my grandchildren when they took part in one of the Junior Parades.

Nadine's grandchildren

My granddaughter, Patience, is wearing a 'bride' outfit and headpiece I made for her adorned with satin roses. She won a second prize ribbon!

~Nadine Morris
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She Saw Heck Harper Riding in the Grand Floral Parade

Back in the 1950's, my grandparents -- Jay and Rhoda Tice -- managed the Bridgeport Hotel (long since torn down), on the east end of the Burnside Bridge. My grandfather had his real estate office on the ground floor, with a big picture window that looked out over the Willamette River.

At Rose Festival time our dad would take my brother John (around eight years old) and me (around ten years old) over to the hotel, so we could watch the Grand Floral Parade from a third floor window that looked right out over the route on Burnside street. From this vantage point we got a great view of all the action!

I particularly remember the year we saw Heck Harper ride by on his horse, wearing a turquoise and yellow cowboy shirt, neckerchief and matching cowboy boots -- pretty fancy duds! In those days he had an afternoon TV show on Channel 12 that all the kids -- including us -- wanted to be on. My brother's cub scout den finally got an invitation after waiting for many months, and I was lucky enough to be included. (Harper was famous for his snazzy outfits, and had an unrivaled collection of cowboy boots to match.)

~Nancy Tice
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She Rode Without Her Glasses as a 1977 Wasco County Fair Princess

Back in 1977, I was a Wasco County Fair Princess. My girlfriend Annette was Queen and Lori was the other princess. The three of us were invited to ride in the Grand Floral Parade.

As we all lived in The Dalles, we needed a place to stay in Portland. Annette had an aunt and uncle who lived in Lake Oswego and said we could stay with them and keep our horses in their backyard. I'd never been to their house before, so I was unsure if the yard was big or small -- and if was fenced in.

But on the Friday evening before parade day, Anette and I took the horses down to their home. I don't remember if the yard was fenced, but I do recall that they had a big backyard that had trees -- and the horses had lots of grass to eat. We just tied them up so they couldn't get tangled up in each others ropes. I wonder what the neighbors thought? Lori and her mother came down to join us on Saturday morning.

On the Saturday morning of the parade, everyone was saying that I looked better without my glasses, so I ended up riding in the parade without them! Everyone along the route was a blur. At one point a man stood up and called, "Mary, where have you been all my life?" I couldn't see him clearly, so I couldn't tell who he was. To this day I still don't know!

~Mary McCormick Loomis (1977 Wasco County Fair Princess)
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She and Her Family Have Been Involved in Many Parts of Rose Festival

I was born and raised in Portland, so the Rose Festival has always been a part of my life -- and later a part of the life of my family, too.

Like so many others, we had our favorite spot on Grand Avenue each year for viewing the Grand Floral Parade. We lived on the East side, and would usually walk down to our spot. After the parade, my two cousins and I would go home and set up wagons, bicycles, tricycles, draping them with blankets, flowers and any other decoration we could muster. Then we'd ride parade-style around the block, waving our best elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist waves!

In 1948 when I was eight years old, I was selected to represent Buckman Elementary as their candidate for Junior Princess. Our family didn't have much money, but I remember my auntie buying me the most beautiful ruffled party dress I ever owned!

I was quite shy in those days, and I was so surprised that the little girl who won wore a very ordinary blue dress! I learned then it was about personality -- and not about ruffles!

When I was a young mother, my children would participate in the Junior Parade. One year my daughter rode a float, while my four-year-old son dressed in his clown outfit from Halloween and pulled a homemade 'cage' behind his decorated big wheel that housed a teddy bear. It had a sign that read, 'Dear Mom and Dad -- I've left home and joined the circus.' He won an honorable mention -- and his Dad had sunburned 'grid' marks on his feet as his reward for walking alongside him.

Later in 1985, my youngest daughter was in the final ten for our district for Junior Princess -- a wonderful experience for her.

Now we find a spot downtown and take our grandchildren to view the Grand Floral Parade -- and still enjoy it as much as ever!

We're looking forward to this 100th anniversary and are so proud that the
tradition continues.

~Dona Jennison (Clackamas, Oregon)