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Portland's Rose Festival: Top 5 Things To See and Do

November 16, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Portland 0 Comments

The flowers are blooming, the springtime sun is out, and Portland natives are eagerly emerging from winter hibernation. The change in season signifies one shining event: The Rose Festival is in town. With two weeks of fun and entertainment for all ages, the Rose City celebration feels like it lasts the entire summer -- and it would, if Portlanders had their way. Because the 102-year-old festival has so much to offer, we've put together a list of the top 5 things to see and do during this annual celebration of Roses.

1. The Rose Parade

The Grand Floral Parade is an Oregon tradition that honors the natural beauty of the Northwest. One of the largest all-floral parades in the U.S., the Rose Parade features over 15 fantastic floats, including the presentation of the Rose Festival Court and fan-favorite, Reser's Beauty and the Beast. Marching from the Memorial Coliseum to downtown Portland, the parade is led by a show stopping drum line and dance crew, and followed by two separate parade sections dedicated to PDX pride and cultural diversity.

2. Band Festivities

Generally held on the second Friday of the Rose Festival at PGE Park, BandFest features big band music at its finest. From high school ensembles to eclectic, harmonic string sets, this popular performance showcase is celebrated for bringing the march back in marching band.

3. Local Performer Showcase

Also available to enjoy throughout the event are performances by the city's favorite bands along the waterfront stages, including blues, contemporary, jazz, and indie rock groups. When watching a local performer sing his or her heart out with the Willamette River dazzling in the backdrop, you instantly feel moved by the bond shared among Portland area citizens.

4. Waterfront Fun

What's the best seat in the house at the Rose Festival? Smack dab in the water. When Fleet Week rolls around, boats of all shapes and sizes dock alongside Waterfront Park, enjoy the stretch of carnival rides from afar, and drink their favorite Oregon ale. At night, boat-bound viewers get to enjoy the brilliant firework show lighting up the sky, as well as see the carnival of colors mirrored in the Willamette alongside.

5. Dragonboats Race The River

Dragonboat races are also in full effect during festival season. Crowds gather to watch the beautifully crafted Chinese canoes split through the river, glide under the Morrison bridge, and disappear into the sunset.

Feeling Rosy

No matter what's on your agenda for the Rose Festival, you're guaranteed an enjoyable experience. Simply walking along the waterfront and sampling a cinnamony-sweet "elephant ear" will awaken your inner flower child. The theme of this year's Grand Floral Rose Parade evoked the importance of community-building and partnership -- a message that truly reflects the spirit of Portland.

This article is presented by The Western Culinary Institute. The Western Culinary Institute offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/ Portland for more information.

WCI does not guarantee employment or salary. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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