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Watch Rose Festival archive footage, 1924-2000

A look back at some of the best footage from KGW's archives of the Rose Festival.

KGW will livestream the 2019 parade beginning at 10 a.m. You can watch it here

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2018.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- On Saturday, thousands of people will pack downtown Portland to watch the annual Grand Floral Parade, the pinnacle of the city's Rose Festival.

KGW has been covering the Rose Festival for more than 70 years as a TV station, and even before that as the radio station affiliated with The Oregonian newspaper starting in the 1920s.

As we approach the Grand Floral Parade, we are also looking back at some of the best footage from KGW's archives of the Rose Festival. KGW Director Paul Kenney, who manages KGW's archive footage, talked about several of the clips he found, starting in 1924 and ending in 2000.

Facebook Live Replay: Looking back at Rose Festival clips 1924-2000

The extended archive video appears below. 

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The Rose Festival dates back more than 100 years. Its history is both prim and proper - the Rose Festival princess and coronation ceremonies, local dignitaries making appearances on elaborate parade floats - and eccentric, proving that Portland has always been a little weird.

In 1924, the Rose Festival featured some fascinating displays of synchronized performances, including 10,000 children doing calisthenics.

The 1965 Junior Rose Parade shows kids from across the region in marching bands and non-motorized floats, along Sandy Boulevard - the same route as today. The Grand Marshal was the child actor who played Timmy from the beloved show "Lassie."

1965 footage shows the city's Rose Festival princesses from each high school presented during the Rose Festival Coronation.

The announcer discussed each young woman, and shared her ambitions, measurements, and exact home address.

Wilson High School and the huge crowd at the coliseum tonight has just welcomed Princess Molly," the announcer can be heard saying. "Her escort: Lord High Chamberlain Robert C. Hall. Molly Gale Schull is the daughter of of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Schull of 5621 SW Edgemont Place. 5’5” weighing 115 pounds with blonde hair, and our second brown eyed princess of the night, plans to attend the University of Oregon and major in secondary education.”

One piece of Rose Festival history ended when it became too much of a drunken brawl. The raucous Merrykhana Parade was notorious for being an alcohol-fueled party. This video of the parade from 1965 shows grown men speeding around in motorized bathtubs. The Merrykhana Parade eventually became the Starlight Parade, which still celebrates Portland's spirit without quite as much booze.

The 2000 Starlight Parade featured some familiar faces - KGW anchors Tracy Barry and Joe Donlon. You'll see some shirtless men from the Italian Businessmen's Club and a giant semi-truck celebrating Oregon's trees.

"You know what I like about this parade? Everybody in the crowd waves back," Tracy said.

Watch more archive footage on KGW's YouTube Archive Playlist