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Florence Starts Prepping for Rhododendron Fest, One of Oregon Coast's Largest

Published 1/02/24 at 6:55 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Florence Begins Prepping for Rhododendron Fest, One of Oregon Coast's Largest

(Florence, Oregon) – One tradition on the central Oregon coast goes back over a century and it seems a bigger and bigger deal each time. The 2024 Florence Rhododendron Festival may be a whole half year away, but the 117th installment of the fan fave is beginning its preparations now and announcing some of its upcoming features.

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The theme for the 2024 Florence Rhododendron Festival is “High Tides and Good Vibes,” and the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has selected a logo for the event.

What are the dates, you may ask? May 16 to 19, 2024.

The logo design was crafted by Shaun Brown of 4 Color Pro (4colorpro.com) in Florence. This is Brown’s third win in the last six years.

Bettina Hannigan, chamber president and CEO, said the logo is bright and truly pops.

Meanwhile, work is already beginning on the three-day event, one of the most popular festivals on the Oregon coast.

Hannigan said that the festival and its carnival, Rhododendron Court, parades, classic car cruise, vendor fair, and flower show all serves as the unofficial kickoff to the summer tourist season. That season adds $320 million to the local economy and employs about 2700 of the roughly 5000 workers in Florence.

“It’ll be another year of ‘good vibes’ as we celebrate our local natural beauty and floral superstars,” Hannigan said. “We invite everyone to come to Florence - Oregon’s Costal Playground - and enjoy the fun and pageantry of the state’s second-longest running floral festival.”

There is actually part of the whole festival that happens just before that big weekend.


The festival opens the Saturday prior to the third weekend in May (May 11, 2024) with the coronation of Queen Rhododendra, the King of the Coast, and their royal court at the Florence Events Center; followed by Thursday’s opening of the Davis Shows Carnival at the Port of Siuslaw property in Old Town. Saturdays traditionally feature the annual 5K Rhody Run and Walk, the junior parade and kids’ activities, the annual Rhody Classic Car Show ‘n’ Shine, and the Coast Radio Classic Car Cruise through Old Town. Sunday brings the grand floral parade down Highway 101 and into Historic Old Town at noon.

Throughout the event there will be a vendor’s fair in Old Town, a spectacular rhododendron show at the Florence Events Center, and live music, art, and other festivities and activities all over town.

“Generations of families have enjoyed the annual Florence Rhododendron Festival by attending, enjoying the Davis Shows carnival, exhibiting their rhododendrons, showing off their classic cars and motorcycles, being in the parades, and shopping and dining in Old Town and all around town,” Hannigan said. “It’s a family tradition, an Oregon institution.”

The Florence Rhododendron Festival is Oregon’s second-oldest floral festival, bested by only a year by the Portland Rose Festival, and sees thousands of visitors from around the state and across the country.

For more information on the annual Florence Rhododendron Festival, including applications for exhibitor space, parade entries, or to volunteer on the Chamber’s Rhody Fest committee, contact event coordinator/director for tourism development Mitzi Hathaway at Events@FlorenceChamber.com or 541-997-3128.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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