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One of the four Rose Festival Princesses this year in Southeast Portland chose to present a 'Porch Parade'

DAVID F. ASHTON - In front of her Woodstock home, which she and her family decorated for this years Porch Parade, was the 2020 Central Catholic High School Portland Rose Festival Princess, Melyssa Okazaki. With the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade on June 6 having been canceled, the Rose Festival Association proposed a unique alternative – the "Portland Rose Festival Porch Parade".

"This spring, we are asking members of the community to celebrate with us by decorating their front porches," explained Portland Rose Festival spokesperson Rich Jarvis.

People all over Portland were asked to choose one of the official themes, or "go wild with your own ideas; to unleash your creativity and bring a smile to your friends and neighbors," according to Jarvis.

The "Porch Parade" turned into somewhat of a competition, Jarvis said. "The more registered porches in your neighborhood, the better your chances are for having the Rose Festival VIP Procession to come by on May 23, in northern Portland – and on May 30, in other areas."

One of the entries turned out to be in the Woodstock neighborhood, and it was decorated by the Okazaki family – and presided over by their daughter, 2020 Portland Rose Festival Central Catholic High School Princess Melyssa.

"We've have taken this idea and created a masterpiece for our neighborhood," said Vicki Okazaki.

With their actual porch set back deep on the property, the family instead decorated their front fence and gate with huge colorful artificial pink roses, as well as cloth banners and ribbons. They also painted roses on their sidewalk leading up from their parking strip, and started a guest book for passers-by to sign.

"The idea is to bring hope to those in our community, and I've had so many wonderful and encouraging words from everyone who has walked, biked, driven, run, and skateboarded past our house," she told THE BEE.

The family, and of course, Princess Melyssa, were on hand on May 23 to wave to and greet folks as they passed by. "Our display will remain up for the required week, and hopefully, the Portland Rose Festival officials will come by and visit on May 30," Okazaki said.


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