Each June Portland celebrates its heritage as the City of Roses with the Portland Rose Festival, the city's oldest and most popular civic event. Over two weeks of celebration begin with the coronation of the Rose Festival Queen and are capped off by the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland at the Portland International Raceway. The signature event of the festival is the Grand Floral Parade, the nation's second-largest floral parade.
The festival's origins date back to the mid 1800's when area residents first realized that our climate was ideal for rose growing. The Rose Society held its first rose show in 1889, and in 1904 a parade was added to mark the event. In 1907 the parade was accompanied by a two-day festival, after which the Portland Rose Festival became formally organized. Horse drawn floats, music, and fireworks marked the early days of the festival.
Today the festival attracts over two million people, and includes band competitions, an arts festival, fireworks show, waterfront amusement park, and of course the annual rose show.