Grand Floral Parade splashes through the wet weather
A little rain can't spoil Portland's parade.
Flight attendants twirled, cheerleaders rallied for the rah-rah and marching bands from all over let out a mighty oom-pah-pah — even as an intermittent drizzle showered the 2018 Grand Floral Parade.
The event on Saturday, June 9, drew untold crowds to the streets of Portland in order to gawk at 27 full and mini-size floral floats, plus 16 marching bands and 18 equestrian outfits.
The four-mile route wended its way along Broadway and North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard before crossing the Burnside Bridge and heading into the heart of downtown.
It was also a chance to see this year's Rose Court royalty, whose hands undulated like flowers in the breeze from atop their special float.
The Rose Festival unveiled its first ever queen who attends Parkrose High School — Kiara Johnson — who shed more than a few tears during an emotional crowning ceremony earlier on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"I'm shaking and I'm crying still, but they're happy tears," Johnson said in an interview. "I feel like I'm standing a little taller."
The senior from Milwaukie is sports editor of her high school newspaper, on the varsity track and volleyball teams and in mock trial.
She wore a crown that dates back to 1973, while the Rose Festival court was first convened in 1914. Johnson will receive a $3,500 scholarship.
Since a bit of dampness was expected, Johnson noted that the court was planning to wear ponchos and "really cute" umbrellas so you can still see their faces.
"When you come to the Rose Festival, you make a memory. When you make a memory, you start a tradition," Johnson said in her first official proclamation. "Now it's time to make new memories."
The other 13 members of the Rose Festival Court shared many of their favorite experiences before the new Queen was announced, including trips to the zoo, Portland's airport, riding in the St. John's Parade and visiting with veterans.
Princess Jenny White from St. Mary's Academy said the highlight for her was visiting with Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. "It was just so inspiring to have such a candid conversation with a civic leader."
Here are the award winners of the 2018 Grand Floral Parade:
Hillmann Lueddemann Jr. Sweepstakes Award (Most outstanding float in the Parade): Alaska Airlines
Queens Award (Most Creative float in the parade): p:ear
President's Award (Most effective overall floral presentation): Reser's Fine Foods
Governor's Award (Best depiction of life in Oregon): Portland General Electric
Royal Rosarian Award (Best craftsmanship and workmanship): Fred Meyer
Rose Society Award (Most effective use and display of roses): Unitus Community Credit Union
Rose Festival Directors Award (Best depiction of volunteerism): Northwest Chinese Alliance
Rose Festival Court Award (Best example of enthusiasm and teamwork): Juega Feliz
Grand Marshal Award (Best depiction of whimsy): Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
Theme Award (Best presentation of Rose Festival theme - Play Happy): Rose Festival CityFair
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Award (Best depiction of community spirit): Cambia Portland Classic
Peg Roseboro Award (Most artistic design and presentation): Spirit Mountain Casino
Dick Powers Picture Perfect Award (Best Mini-float): Metro Mini-Float
Parade Queen Award: Westminster Hyack Festival Mini-float
Parade Chairman Award: Lincoln City Mini-Float
Band Sweepstakes (Best Band in Parade): Westview High School
In-State Division A (99 Members or Less)
• First Place – Hillsboro High School, Hillsboro, OR
• Second Place - Aloha High School, Beaverton, OR
• Third Place - Lincoln High School, Portland, OR
In-State Open (100 or more)
• First Place - Tualatin High School, Tualatin, OR
• Second Place - Oregon City High School, Oregon City, OR
• Third Place - Century High School, Hillsboro, OR
Out-of-State Division A (99 Members or Less)
• First Place – Battle Ground High School, Battle Ground, WA
• Second Place – Prairie High School, Brush Prairie, WA
• Third Place – South Kitsap High School, Port Orchard, WA
Out-of-State Open (100 or more)
• First Place - Shu-Te Home Economics & Commercial High School, Kaohsiung, Taiwan