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Rose City smackdown: Portland, Ore., flexes its horticultural muscle with parades and a festival

Rose City smackdown: Portland, Ore., flexes its horticultural muscle with parades and a festival
A float entry in the 2014 Grand Floral Parade, part of the annual Portland Rose Festival. The parade will be held Saturday morning this year. (Portland Rose Festival)

Step aside, Pasadena: Portland, Ore., becomes rose city central in the spring, which includes its 127th annual Spring Rose Show on Thursday and Friday.

Sure, Pasadena has its Rose Parade and bowl game, but Portland's spring Rose Festival runs throughout June.

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The Grand Floral Parade on Saturday features 15 flowery floats, 17 marching bands and horseback teams.

Before the parade, a Rose Festival queen and court officially are sworn in and the hand-waving begins. Visitors can get post-parade close-ups of the floats on Saturday and Sunday.

If you're traveling to Portland this weekend or even this month, here are some of the other Rose Festival highlights:

--Dragon Boat Races on Saturday and Sunday will feature more than 80 teams competing in four-team heats on the Willamette River near Hawthorne Bridge.

--Outdoor concerts at Tom McCall Waterfront Park include Rock the Roses (featuring hard-rock band Great White and others) on Friday and Kink on the Waterfront on Saturday. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 at the gate for each performance.

--The Milk Carton Boat Race on Sunday in Westmoreland Park Casting Pond is a chance for adults and children to display their hand-made "boats" that compete in different categories.

--Ongoing events in June include a Rose Festival Art Show featuring the works of local artists and a Dragon Boat Art Show inspired by the festival races.

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