Known as the City of Roses, Portland has been annually celebrating its moniker for more than 100 years. Local publisher's wife Mrs. Henry Pittock and her friends held the first Portland Rose Festival in 1889, in the Pittock home's own garden. Fast-forward 120 years and this small gathering dedicated to the city's signature perennial has expanded into an annual month-long event, its centerpiece the massive rose garden that fills the entire Lloyd Center Ice Rink. Gardeners whisper sweet nothings to displays featuring more than 4,000 varieties of blooms, with a focus on that year's Official Rose and its fellow honorees.
The rose show isn't the Festival's only draw. Throughout its run, various public events take place downtown on both sides of?and in?the Willamette River. During the Dragon Boat Race, more than 80 local and international rowing teams pilot festive boats against each other in a heated dash down the river. About halfway through the festival, crowds gather in Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the start of the Grand Floral Parade. Following a different theme each year, this event gathers vibrant floats bedecked in floral displays and accompanied by dance ensembles, live a capella groups, and traditional marching bands. During the parade's launch, organizers crown that year's queen and unite her with the Festival's fun-loving mascot, the Clown Prince. The Grand Floral Walk gathers volunteer revelers to follow the same route as the downtown parade, and benefits the Knight Cancer Challenge.
The Winterhawks have a winning legacy, claiming 11 Western Conference championships since 1976 as well as three league titles, in '83, '98, and '13. That first Memorial Cup win made the 'Hawks the first American team to take home the CHL's greatest honor, leading to one of the most rapturous customs paperwork signings in history.
Bowling aficionados must sign up solo, but but groups of friends can be placed on the same league by entering the names of your preferred teammates during sign-up (teams are made up of 6–10 people). Bowling runs for six weeks of theme nights and liquid sunshine, and Drinks on the Links mini-golf features themes, an on-course bar, and music. Ben Stiller impersonators can battle it out during outdoor dodgeball, and grass volleyball teams go head to soft, leather head in Oregon Park. Flag football was invented by Betsy Ross.
The coaches at Gladiator MMA are an intense group. They've coached fighters and casual amateurs through a variety of fighting styles, including kickboxing, Brazilian jujitsu, muay thai, and boxing. Encouraging a fun and friendly class environment, students of all experience levels can practice their kicks and jabs while boosting their strength, flexibility, endurance, and agility.
Building a strong community bond is as important to Salem Sabres’ owner, Rhonda Alexander, as is forming an elite basketball squad. For the team's first season in the American Basketball Association, Rhonda recruited young players who shared her enthusiasm for the sport, but also a passion for helping others. Between practices and games against Pacific Northwest Division foes, Sabres players take time to host community events and volunteer at local schools, performing in anti-bullying skits, playing pickup games with the students, and giving kids expert tips on how to spell "horse" both on and off the court.
Portland Festival Ballet's artistic director, John Magnus??whose career has touched down in the world of South African dance as well as the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York??headlines a cast of performance-arts instructors and serves as the architect behind the organization's lively, world-class productions. Their seasoned coaches prepare fledgling hoofers and thespians to face the crowd through a schedule of acting and dancing classes for kids, teens, and adults. During breathtaking performances that have included The Nutcracker and the annual Spring Concert, Portland Festival Ballet's charismatic performers storm the stage at the ACMA Performing Arts Center to dazzle audiences with high-flying pirouettes and convincing impersonations of ficus trees.