How lucky we were to land in Portland in time for the Rose Festival, and what an extravaganza it was. We didn’t get to all the events over the 3 weeks of celebration, but we managed to hit a few highlights. We did hear some snarkiness from the locals about the weather during the Rose Festival (it is always rainy & cold) and that right after the weather improves. They were right. But other than the unpredictable weather, we had fun being a part of the 100 year celebration.
I had high expectations for this parade, and well – it was no Spectromagic. Okay, I knew it wasn’t going to be that crazy good, but I was surprised that a great many floats & bands didn’t really go all out & have fun with being in a night parade. Some did however, and the crowds made sure to give them a roar of approval when they lit up the parade route. We were right at the beginning and learned one downside to that location – the bands were too busy forming to really start playing. Hearing marching bands is one of the highlights for any parade for me, so that was a bit of a bummer. After an hour or so, we headed back to our apartment where we could watch the parade route from the 20th floor, and stream it live on TV. Unfortunately, we left before the Grimm float went by.
Ah, sailors. I still remain sad that I didn’t know Keith when he was enlisted. It was awesome seeing the sailors walk up & down the streets of Portland-although when did they all get so YOUNG? I actually mentioned to Keith that it used to be mmmm sailors and now it’s a little more like awww, thanks for serving our country, sailors. When did I get so old?!? Anyway, we went & visited the fleet a few times while they were docked. Once after work with a big storm brewing & managed to take some dramatic shots, and then on the weekend so we could tour the ship. After standing in line for an hour, we got to tour the USS Dewey.
What was extra cool about the whole experience is Keith came to Portland during Fleet Back back in the late 80′s, and served as a guide. He was amused to see it from the other side, and our guide was full of energy & even posed for a shot with Keith.
The ship tour itself was interesting, although because it is an active ship we didn’t get the access like we did when we toured the decommissioned USS Texas. (which is understandable)
Grand Floral Parade
We didn’t really set out to see this parade. We heard (and saw!) people camping out the day before trying to get a good spot. Since camping out for a parade isn’t my idea of a good time, I figured we wouldn’t be able to see much of it at all. As we headed through downtown towards the river, we happened upon a prime viewing spot. We stayed and took in some bands, and snapped a shot of one of the best signs ever following some horses!
International Test Garden
This was our second hike up to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Our first trek was wet and muddy, and the roses weren’t even thinking about blooming.
This trip was warm and sunny – and while it was a bit more crowded, the roses were in full bloom. Roses aren’t really my favorite flower, but it’s hard not to love taking in the grandeur of rows and rows of roses, smelling sweet in the mid day air.
I know that many people travel from all over to visit during this time period, so it was especially nice living downtown to easily take it all in. We did miss the fireworks, and the dragon boat races so maybe we will catch those the next time around.