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ani, glitter

He is the Centennial Prime Minister of the Royal Rosarians

My wife Ann and I moved to Portland in 1979. I remember our first Grand Floral Parade -- we stood about six or eight deep amidst several families at the northeast end of the Burnside Bridge. The crowd was festive, the sun was bright and the children played Frisbee or drew with crayons and chalk.

Coming from a small Midwest town where the floats are tractor driven hay wagons and the marching bands are few and far between, I immediately recognized the significance of Portland's Rose Festival as the Grand Floral Parade proceeded around the corner onto Burnside. The creative beauty of the floats and the magnitude of the parade were astounding to this farm boy.

As the men in the white suits marched by, I asked out loud to anyone who was listening, "Who are they?" I'll never forget the reverence, the pride, and the respect with which this question was answered by several people around us. "They are the Royal Rosarians."

Woman with Sign

Over time, I learned that the Rosarians were readily associated with the Rose Festival and that their white uniform was a Portland icon not unlike the silhouette of Mt. Hood or the statue of Portlandia.

After that initial festival experience in 1979, we rarely missed a Grand Floral Parade. I always found myself in awe when the Rosarians marched down Broadway. Never in a million years did I think that a flatlander like me could become a Royal Rosarian. But by 1998, I was deemed a true webfoot and invited to join the organization!

Bob with duck

Wearing the white uniform of the Royal Rosarians has opened the door to many opportunities. Ann and I have traveled to foreign countries and many distant cities representing this City of Roses and promoting the festival. We have met hundreds of interesting people, developed distant friendships and created childhood memories for our young parade-watchers.

Bob and Ann

And now -- in this centennial year of the Portland Rose Festival -- we're honored to serve as the Prime Minister and First Lady of the Royal Rosarians. Who'd a thunk it possible?

~Bob Strader (Prime Minister, Royal Rosarians)

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