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Nancy Mccarthy of The Skanner
Published: 31 May 2006

Although many longtime Portland residents reach for their raincoats when the Rose Festival begins, they also know that the beginning of June marks a time to celebrate all the city has to offer.

For 99 years, the Rose Festival has swept through town in June to honor the prolific rose, appreciate the city's pretty young women and give residents and guests alike a good time.

The two-day "Portland Rose Carnival and Fiesta" in 1907 has gradually grown and changed over the past century, until now it stretches from the "prelude events" in May to the "encore events" throughout June and even a Portland Rose Festival Charitable Foundation dinner and auction in October.

This year, the favorite events are still planned. Downtown Portland will be lit up by lights on the floats in the Portland General Electric/SOLV Starlight Parade on June 3. Roses will be judged during the Royal Rosarians' Rose Garden Contest June 4 and 5. The Fred Meyer Junior Parade will wind its way through the Hollywood District June 7. Sailors aboard the Rose Festival fleet are set to arrive between June 7 and 11.

Honored dignitaries are scheduled to kneel before the Rose Festival Queen during the Washington Park Knighting Ceremony on June 9. The Rose Cup Races are planned June 9 through 11, and the slower Dragon Boat Races will be held June 10 and ll. Of course, no one will want to miss the Southwest Airlines Grand Floral Parade on June 10.

The Rose Festival is no longer a city-centered event; it ranges far and wide — from Vancouver, Lincoln City and Salem to Welches, Estacada and Oregon City.

Local neighborhoods also are involved. The Royal Rosarians and the Rose Festival Court will visit the "Good in the Neigh-borhood" multicultural music and food festival at 11 a.m. June 24 at King School Park. The event runs through June 25.
It seems that just about everyone participates in the ever-expanding festival: Boy Scouts, musicians, actors, golfers, walkers and runners, wine aficionados, model railroad enthusiasts, gun collectors, baseball players and kite flyers.

There's something for everyone, and this year, there are several new events, including:

• Rose Festival Concert at the Park: 7 p.m. Friday, June 9, PGE Park. The show's headliner is the One More Time Around Again Marching Band. Entertain-ment also will be provided by the Senshy Soya Dancing Group, from Osaka, Japan; the Lions of Batucada; the Ainsworth Elementary Samba Band; Royal Rosarian Portland All-District Honor Band; Centennial High School Marching Band; and the West High School Band from Sioux City, Iowa.

• Swan Lake: The Oregon Ballet Co.'s world premier of the famous ballet in its entirety is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, in Keller Auditorium. Other performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11.

• Queen's coronation: After more than 30 years, the Queen's coronation returns to the Memorial Coliseum, but for the first time, the ceremony will occur immediately before the Southwest Airlines Grand Floral Parade. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 10, in the Coliseum.

• Southwest Airlines Grand Floral Parade: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 10. More than 85 entries will parade down the streets of Northeast Portland and through the downtown area, ending at the Pepsi Waterfront Village on Southwest Naito Parkway. New floats this year will include entries from Franz Bakery, 76 Quality PRO-clean Gasolines and Rose's Restaurant & Bakery. Two performance floats will feature Latin entertainment and New Orleans-style jazz.

• Pepsi Waterfront Village: Opening 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, June 1, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 11, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park (between Southwest Ash Street and the Hawthorne Bridge). Admission is free until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, admission is $5 for persons age 13 and older; admission for children 12 and under is free.

Included at the Waterfront Village this year are five stages, more than 500 performances; a pirate camp; two exotic animal exhibits; all-American activities un-der the Big Top Tent; an Innovation Station science and technology interactive exhibit area; and the Green Zone, which features healthy lifestyles and environmental presentations.

In addition, the village will feature a Civil War enactment campsite, open June 1 through 7 and a Ford exhibit, open June 8 through 11.

•NewRose Festival-sanctioned events: Several new events are planned for the whole family. They include: the Vancouver Home & Garden Tour; AsiaFest Portland; Builders Blitz Habitat for Humanity home dedication; Day of the African Child at the World Forestry Center; Eddie Barnett Jr. Found-ation Walk for Life; Lincoln City Kite Festival; Oregon Eel Fest 2006 (Oregon City); Portland Theatre Brigade; Step into Summer 5K Run/Walk for Epilepsy; and the Portland Beavers vs. Round Rock baseball game.

For more information about the Portland Rose Festival, or to check out the festival's event schedule, visit www.rosefestival.org.

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