Family Time at the Portland Rose Festival

June marks a historic, annual tradition for our neighbors across the bridge – the Portland Rose Festival event in Portland Oregon.  It is also a favorite of the physicians and staff members at Family Wellness Center.   Here are some of our recommendations for this event which begins Tuesday May 30, 2017 and lasts until June 17, 2017. portland rose festival

Things to Do and See at the Portland Rose Festival

Fleet Week

Since the very beginning of the Rose Festival back in 1907, visiting ships and other fleet-related elements (like submarines) have been making their way to Portland’s waterfront. The City of Portland is known to be a favorite port of call for military (and non-military) visitors — and citizens enjoy making these visitors welcome! One of the purposes of Fleet Week has always been to celebrate and thank active and reserve military personnel and all veterans.

The Portland Rose Festival is extremely fortunate to be one of a few U.S. Ports of Call for a courtesy visit from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Navy. Their arrival commemorates a relationship with the U.S. Navy that has lasted more than 100 years, and over 80 years of visiting Portland during the Rose Festival. The Navy’s relationship and affection for the City of Portland makes the Rose Festival Fleet Week one of the premier Fleet Week events in the country.

The naval ships arrive on June 7th and will dock at the Portland seawall adjacent to Governor Tom McCall Park until June 11th.  Tours of the ships are available on a schedule determined by each individual ship.


There are four different parade events that take place throughout the first week of June. The Portland General Electric/SOLVE Starlight parade kicks off the Rose Festival on June  3rd at 8:30 pm.  The Starlight Parade continues a longtime festival tradition from the early 1900s when illuminated floats built on electric trolley cars made their way through the city on trolley tracks. Today, participants light up the night with approximately 100 illuminated entries along a 2.25-mile route.

The Fred Meyer Junior parade, June 7th at 1:00 pm features children from all parts of the city dressing in costumes, transforming wagons into floats, decorating their bikes with colorful flowers, or just parading with their pets (and parents!). Elementary and Middle School marching bands fill the Hollywood District of Portland with music and dance teams add swirls of color to the celebration.

The Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral parade on June 10th at 10:00 am is the iconic Rose Festival parade. The parade features 16 full-size all-floral floats, 13 all-floral mini-floats, 13 marching bands, 22 equestrian units and many other special entries.  All of these parades are bound to please adults and children alike.

City Fair at Governor Tom McCall Park

City Fair takes place for three consecutive weekends and is located at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. You can purchase tickets at the fair or visit one of the City Fair ticket locations to get a 2017 Souvenir Pin. Wear this year’s souvenir pin to the fair and you get free admission any day it’s running. Best of all, children 6 and under are free, which makes it an affordable event to stroll and enjoy.

Dragon Boat Races

The Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races are a colorful and exciting Chinese tradition that arrived in Portland in 1989.  Held on the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge, the races feature exciting four-team heats held every nine minutes on June 10th and June 11th from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. More than 80 different teams – local, national and international – compete in unique boats graciously provided through the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association.

Another Type of Boat Race– The Milk Carton Boat Race

A family favorite since it first entered the Rose Festival Scene back in 1973, The Milk Carton Boat Race on June 25th is open to both children and adults who creatively use recycled milk jugs and cartons to create a race-able water craft. This year, the event takes place at 11:00 a.m. at the historic Westmoreland Casting Pond in the Sellwood Neighborhood of SE Portland.

The Milk Carton Boat Race is free for attendees, and it’s free to enter as well, so get your thinking caps on and start sourcing milk containers. You could be one of many winners across nine different categories.

Walks and Runs

Are you a runner? Or a walker? The Starlight Run and the Grand Floral Walk take place on June 3rd and June 10th respectively.

Finally – the Treasure Hunt for the Rose Medallion

Another decades’-old favorite, the Treasure Hunt for the Rose Festival Medallion was started back in the 1980’s. Only the clever clue writer knows where the Rose Festival Medallion treasure is hidden. Each year, the medallion is stashed somewhere on public property.  The clues are doled out on a daily basis via until the treasure is found. The winner of this year’s Treasure Hunt will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a one-night stay, plus a buffet meal for two at Spirit Mountain Casino. Could that be you or a younger member of your treasure hunting family? We sure hope so.

Visit the Portland Rose Festival website to learn more about a range of activities offered over the summer months and we hope to see you there.

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