June 7, 2011, 5:00 amI love the idea that Rose Festival offers two parades; one for the folks who love fancy flowers and lots of expensive, long floats with beautiful women waving like Disney princesses. The other, the Starlight parade, a funky, fabulous, homegrown parade that features more truck driven floats than the Molalla buckaroo parade.
The parade begins with a fun run, where the most competitive contestants fly by wearing Nike shorts and racing flats. Then come the costumes. This year, a 200 pound man led the costume charade dressed like a Black Swan. Following him, legions of moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, strollers, all dressed in costumes ranging from Blazer dancers to Luke Skywalker.
This year, 250,000 people packed the downtown blocks for a night of revelry. It's like Mardi Gras with a Portland twist. You'll see bikes, unicycles, segways and high riders. The bands are all local, and the dancers range from tiny tots to Grandmas in tutus. I've often been asked what makes this event so much different than the Grand FLoral parade. It doesn't try too hard. It allows Portland's creative culture to come out in all of it's pink chiffon. It lets Darcelle be the Grand dame that she is, in her neon lit gown, and people of every color, shape and size applaud as she goes by.
The Starlight Parade is the most diverse party on wheels. It ushers in summer with a wink and a nod. I'd love to hear from you as to which Rose Festival event you love and why.