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Rose Festival partners with local historians to offer free tours of interesting sites

PMG PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Cheryl Rice, along with grandchildren Penelope Rice and Callan Geer, read 19th-century tales at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City to prepare for participation in the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade.Oregon City history will again be front and center at the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade as a local family in period clothing will ride in a 19th-century covered-wagon float in the June 8 parade.

Historic wagons will be circling back to Oregon City as part of the free tours the public can enjoy at local historic attractions. This year's Oregon City Heritage Days event will feature Oregon City's 175th anniversary since the first city was incorporated west of the Mississippi River.

Rolla and Marge Harding are members of the committee organizing Heritage Days at museums and heritage sites the weekend of June 21-22. The theme for this year's event is "Tell the Story," since, as the Hardings learned, storytelling is the most important method of preserving history. They believe that Oregon City has the potential to become a "Williamsburg of the West," a historic tourist destination to rival anything else in the nation.

"Every site has its own story about how it's connected to the beginning of Oregon City," Marge Harding said. "Volunteers will be in period clothing at most of the eight participating locations."

PMG PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Penelope Rice and Callan Geer, who will participate in the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade, read 19th-century tales at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.The Hardings said that thanks to the Curtis Heritage Education Center, people will be able to see 19th-century wagons at the Holmes House, also known as the Rose Farm for the proliferation of blooms at the oldest home still standing from an American pioneer family in Oregon City. Rolla Harding is looking forward to the grand reopening of the Stevens-Crawford House, which he sees as an excellent example of early 20th-century architecture restored to give a sense of what life was like in early Oregon. The Clackamas County Historical Society has repainted and reorganized the rooms at Stevens-Crawford to ready the house for its grand opening.

"The house has been completely reset," said Sara Cone, visitor-services coordinator for the historical society. "There are going to be new interpretive panels going up."

In other areas of interest, visitors are encouraged to check out the Josephine Hunsaker rose, a historic heirloom variety, at Mountain View Cemetery. When the child died in 1852 of typhoid fever, she was buried there to the great sadness of Dr. John McLoughlin, the "Father of Oregon." While she was sick, McLoughlin cut her a rose that eventually took root and thrived at her grave.

"We often hear a lot of the names that are so important to Oregon history, and we can still see a lot of what they saw right here in Oregon City," Marge said.

The 2019 Portland Rose Festival began with a bang, crackle, pop — and tons of oohs and ahhs from an appreciative crowd gathered for a downtown fireworks display on May 24.

PMG PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Cheryl Rice, along with grandchildren Penelope Rice and Callan Geer, stands in front of one of the wagons that people used to travel 2,000 miles to Oregon City in the 1840s.The annual kick-off event was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting, dances, speeches and lots of fun during the official start of CityFair, which is open for the weekend, June 7-9, at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

CityFair includes lots of good food, carnival games, pop-up shops — and a Ferris wheel, of course.

Anther festival event returning to Stumptown this year is Fleet Week from June 5-9.

The theme of the 2019 Rose Festival, which is now in its 112th year, is "Let's Festival." Meals on Wheels People has been designated the official benefiting charity.

Oregon City Heritage Days

What: Free tours of Oregon City's historic attractions

When: 10 a.m. Friday-Saturday, June 21-22

Where: Start at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1726 Washington St., and get a free map to the historic locations.

More: Call 503-650-1851.

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