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Grand Floral Parade marches through Northeast Portland

Colorful floral floats and parade participants marched along the east side of the Willamette River for the first time since the 1940s.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Grand Floral Parade kicked off from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in North Portland at 10 a.m. on Saturday, appearing for the first time since 2019. The iconic Rose Festival event was canceled two years in a row due to the pandemic.

The parade route traditionally starts in Northeast Portland and goes over the river into downtown. This year, colorful floral floats and parade participants marched along the east side of the Willamette River for the first time since the 1940s.

"It is one of the top 5 parades in the United States, we're a world renowned festival and it truly is a great spectacle to see," said Carla Stenberg, Grand Parade Chair.

The Grand Floral Parade is the third and final Rose Festival parade. It normally draws hundreds and thousands of people each year. The event features floats, bands, equestrian units, vintage cars, dancers and drill teams.

For those hoping to avoid the rain, their best bet was to view the festivities from inside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum — although mild weather prevailed by Saturday morning. 

Watch: 2022 Grand Floral Parade | Full video 

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

Parade route

The parade traveled along a new two-mile path, passing through the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It then traveled down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and turned left on Northeast Lloyd Boulevard before ending at Northeast Multnomah Street and 15th Avenue near the Lloyd Center.

Credit: Portland Rose Festival

Traffic and bridge impacts

The eastbound lanes of the Broadway Bridge were closed from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. The ramps to and from North Larrabee Avenue were also closed during that window of time, so drivers needed to use alternative routes. The Broadway Bridge's westbound lanes remained open.

The history behind the Rose Festival

The Rose Festival takes place each June to celebrate the City of Roses with parades, rides, fireworks and entertainment. The tradition stretches back to 1907, but its origin reaches back to 1837 when the first rose bush was imported.

The Rose Society held its first rose show in 1889. The society began holding a "fiesta" in 1904 and added a parade, which featured decorated automobiles. The Rose Festival was formally organized into a nonprofit in 1907.

RELATED: Portland's Grand Floral Parade will stick to the east side this year

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