Each June, Portland comes to life with the Rose Festival with its beautiful Grand Floral Parade where floats adorned with flowers follow a parade route attended by thousands of locals and visitors. The waterfront comes alive with the arrival of the fleet and the fun fair, and the festival is kicked off by the starlight parade and run/walk. This June I was lucky to host my wonderful friend Jorge from Mexico and I had forgotten about the Rose Festival and we spent the day of the parade at the beach where the weather was fabulous (it doesn’t always rain in Portland).
On Sunday I decided to show Jorge around our city with another friend Robin. After breakfast in NW we headed to the Rose Garden in Washington Park where we were met by the incredible sight of thousands of roses in all shapes and colors in full bloom. As we wandered around we noticed some very official looking people in cream whites suits and straw hats. These are the Royal Rosarians and each year they serve as Portland’s official greeters and ambassadors by charter from the Mayor’s office. On the Sunday following the floral parade, they preside over a ceremony in the Rose Garden to cement a plaque into the floor with the name of the Rose Queen that year. A Rose Queen is selected from applicants from schools across the City and the selection criteria focus on core values:
- Character (50%): Demonstrates good citizenship, community-minded, involved in school and other activities, shows desires to help others.
- Communication Skills (25%): Good verbal skills, speaks clearly, expresses herself appropriately, creative speech content, correct grammar, good eye contact.
- Presence (25%): Poised under pressure, prepared for speech and interview, enthusiastic, sincere, comfortable with herself, appropriate grooming.
Notice the absence of looks or fashion, how refreshing. The Queen is selected along with 15 Princesses and we happened to be in the right place at the right time to enjoy the ceremony in the garden!