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Grand Floral Parade takes a new route and enough locals show up to make it a fun event like in past years.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Queen Senya Scott and the Rose Festival Court wave to the crowd at the Grand Floral Parade.

Gray skies, nothing but gray skies … but at least it didn't rain.

The Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade went off without a hitch Saturday morning on its shortened east side route from Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the Lloyd Center. A few families camped out to reserve the best spots along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but there was plenty of room for walkups to see the Rose Princesses, marching bands and flower floats.

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - Grant Ebright watched the parade with his son Dax on his shoulders and wife Pheobe Ebright, who was the most excited of them all to be at the grand floral parade again.

Grant Ebright was there with his son Dax on his shoulders. "He hasn't been out much," said Grant of his son. Were his other kids excited? "Oh, they're not excited. My wife is though." The family stood on Northeast Broadway where the parade hit the street. Phoebe Ebright said, "It's been a long time since we've been out as a family, and we had a COVID baby. I haven't been to this for a decade. The attraction is the noise and chaos and colors." They had tickets for the show inside the coliseum but got blocked, so they walked over the Broadway Bridge and decided to stay outside.

Starla Heim was with her sons, Thunder, in her arms, and Lucca, along with daughter Markie and husband Uriah. Heim said she was "super excited" to bring her family, having come to the parade herself as a child. "They're loving the floats, and he's loving the cheerleaders," she said referring to Lucca. "I like the new route. It seems easier; it flows a lot better." Her family had recently lived on the coast, and she was glad to move back to the city. "Everyone's been really nice. They seem glad to be outdoors. I think we all needed this."

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Puddles and the Duck Truck made an appearance at the Grand Floral Parade.Standing in the staging area in the shadow of he Moda Center were Alec Henkins, one of three drum majors, and Kayla Baldwin, a flute player, with the Oregon City High School marching band's Scarlet Brigade. It was Baldwin's first Grand Floral Parade — her family recently moved to Oregon City from New York City — but Henkins played the mellotron here in 2019. The mixture of cheerleaders, musicians, flag wavers and ROTC warriors looked nervous and keen to get moving.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Drum Major Terry Munro leads the Portland Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums at the Grand Floral Parade.

Jessica Sayward was also staging and keeping her horse happy while her posse waited for MAX trains to pass and the coliseum to open. As the Thunder Mountain Rodeo Queen, she said her job was to smile and greet people, but her real horse work is breakaway cattle roping on a ranch in Washington.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Dancers from Papalotle Ballet perform at the Grand Floral Parade.After the parade terminated, Portland motorcycle police escorted the floats across the Willamette River where they were parked on Naito Parkway near the fair for Portlanders to see them up close.


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