The Big Float ~

It rains in Portland. It rains a lot!  So when summer rolls around and the sun finally shines its happy light on us, everyone heads for the great outdoors and some fun in the sun – Portland style.  Which is how hubs and I ended up at The Big Float.

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

This year more than 2,500 souls dragged their pale white bodies, their favorite flotation devices, kids, friends, grandma and in some cases, even their dogs through the streets of Southwest Portland making their way to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to pay the $6 fee that allowed them to participate in one of Portland’s most unique summer events. Continue reading

Portland’s Rose Festival

With just a bit of bad luck and a little civic shortsightedness, I could be living in Stumptown instead of Portland.  That was the other choice when the founding fathers were naming our fair city.  Thank goodness that someone came to their senses and Portland won.

Portland is also known as the City of Roses.  Roses thrive in our damp, temperate climate. In fact, roses grow so well here that Portland is home to the International Rose Test Garden, which is not to be confused with the Rose Garden where our beloved  Trailblazers lost a whole bunch of basketball games this year.

Oops!  Back to the roses.   Each year in June, Portland becomes the true Rose City as we celebrate a month long series of events known as Rose Festival.  What started back in 1907 as a celebration of an abundance of beautiful blooming roses and a way to promote Portland to the rest of the country and the world, is now a series of too many events to count.  The Grand Floral Parade is still the centerpiece event.   It is the second largest all-floral parade in the country, after Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Hubs and I couldn’t get it together for our own parade float, so this year we’re doing the next best thing. The Grand Floral Walk.  Yes, if you get up early enough, you can walk  the entire 4 mile parade route as it crosses the river and winds through downtown streets.  Thousands of Happy Portlanders line the streets.  Thousands of Happy Portlanders walk the route.  People cheer!  TV cameras roll!  Breakfast and a Bloody Mary follows!  It’s all good!  And then the “real” parade begins.

But wait, there’s more…SO much more.  If you are in P-town during the month of June, here are just a few of the other fun, fabulous and funky Rose Festival events you won’t want to miss ~

Starlight Parade – This evening parade sports lighted entries and lots of crazy fun and merriment along with bands from every high school within a 100 mile radius.  My personal favorite is the One More Time Around Marching Band, a true Portland original, with over 400 members, age 18 to 80.  If you played or marched in a high school band, you can relive your glory days with the One More Time Around gang and play Louie Louie in the parade.   I think that’s their only song.

Fleet Week – Yes, the Navy ships and the Coastguard comes to town!   Hug a sailor.  Tour a ship that’s docked right along the seawall.  Unfortunately this year’s Sequester Budget Cuts may keep the sailors out at sea.  Bummer!

Dragon Boat Races –  Two days. 80 Dragon Boats racing furiously across the river.  (not all at the same time.  They run in heats) I love the flashing color, the high energy, the bang, bang, bang of the drum that keeps the paddlers in time.

Air Festival –  Wing Walkers, Harrier Jets, WWII bombers (and sometimes the pilots who flew them), breathtaking arial acts and interesting ground displays all take place at the Hillsboro Airport about 15 miles from downtown.  Side Note – I used to work the beer tent here just for fun many years ago.

Milk Carton Boat Races –  This event features handmade, human-powered water-crafts, made from milk jugs or cartons.  Portlander’s are creative and we re-cycle so this is a natural.  Head over to the Westmorland Park Casting Pond to join the fun.

Milk Carton Boat Race - Portland Rose Festival

Milk Carton Boat Race – Portland Rose Festival

There is never a shortage of fun and quirky things to do in Portland.  Especially in the summer.  Here is a link to many more Rose Festival festivities.  There is definitely something for everyone.