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Spotlight on Portland Rose Festival

Courtesy Travel Portland

Many group travelers make their first trip to Oregon for the Portland Rose Festival, an annual event that has become one of the most popular floral celebrations in the country.

The festival begins right after Memorial Day and lasts for two weeks. For many groups, the highlight is the Grand Floral Parade, which features more than 100 floats and marching bands.

“They have naturally made floats made with rose petals and seeds,” said Heather Anderson, tourism manager at Travel Portland. “The unique thing about our parade is that groups can actually purchase tickets inside the Memorial Coliseum. The walls of the coliseum come off, and the parade route comes right through the building, so you’re completely protected from the elements as you watch the parade.”

Groups can get an up-close look at those parade floats during the Grand Floral Float Showcase or witness the coronation of the Rose Festival Queen. In addition to the Grand Floral Parade, the celebration features a nighttime Starlight Parade and dragon boat races. Concerts and an arts fair take place in Waterfront Park throughout the two weeks of festivities.

The festival also has an annual rose show in which flower growers compete to win prizes for their cut roses. Groups that attend the event often also include visits to multiple formal rose gardens throughout the area.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.