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Rose Festival volunteers put finishing touches on floats before the Grand Floral Parade this weekend

The parade was sidelined for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's finally back — if somewhat changed.

PORTLAND, Ore — The iconic Grand Floral Parade is making a comeback at the Portland Rose Festival this weekend. From painting and gluing to cutting, hundreds of volunteers are still putting the finishing touches on parade floats.

"We are so excited to be back — it's the 'Rose City Reunion,'" said Yacita Simonsen, float building manager. "I think it's fabulous we get to come back together, the Rose Festival in the community again."

The Grand Floral Parade was sidelined the past couple of years because of the pandemic, but this year it's back in full swing. Thirty-five floats are making a comeback, including Spirit Mountain.

"We took some images of our tribal members gathering camas and really wanted to bring that to life," said Jocelyn Huffman with Spirit Mountain Casino.

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Credit: KGW
The Spirit Mountain float depicts a Native American woman using a traditional digging stick to harvest camas, an important tradition for the Grand Ronde people.

The float depicts a native woman using a traditional digging stick to harvest camas, an important tradition and source of sustenance and trading for the Grand Ronde people.

"We try to tell a story of what is going on in the Tribe, what is going on in the community, in Oregon, so it's really personal for me to be involved to tell a story," said Huffman.

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The Spirit Mountain float and others will head down a new route this year. For the first time in decades the Grand Floral Parade will be entirely on Portland's east side.

Volunteer Linnea Coon was hoping the parade would come back this year. Coon has volunteered to decorate floats every year for the last 2 decades. She loves to see the transformation.

"How blank the floats are and then all of the the sudden they put the products on, and the colors and the float just starts coming to life," said Coon.

"I think it inspires community, support and I think it shows everybody we can all come back together and be a community again," said Simonsen.

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