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112 Years of Florence Rhododendron Festival Celebrated This Month on Oregon Coast

Published 05/03/2019 at 5:13 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

112 Years of Florence Rhododendron Festival Celebrated This Month on Oregon Coast

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(Florence, Oregon) – One of the state’s longest-running festivals celebrates a whopping 112 years of flowery fun on the Oregon coast: the annual Florence Rhododendron Festival. This year, “Rhody Fest” happens May 17 to 19, featuring plenty of the famous plants, as well as massive pageantry, civic pride and one heckuva party.

Dozens of volunteers and the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce put on the gargantuan event. The highlight is always the grand floral parade, happening at noon on May 19. The whole shebang begins at 27th St. and Highway 101 and travels about three miles through Historic Old Town Florence.

This time around the honored citizen of the parade is actually a lighthouse: the Heceta Head Lighthouse is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.

The Florence Rhododendron Festival itself officially begins with the coronation of Queen Rhododendra and the King of the Coast on Wednesday night, May 15, at the Florence Events Center. Members of the court have been selling festival pins for $3 to raise money for scholarships. The pins are also good for $1 off a bowl of chowder throughout May at participating restaurants around town. The list currently includes Bay Street Grille, Clawson’s Wheelhouse, The Hukilau, The Firehouse, ICM Restaurant and Traveler’s Cove.

What would this Oregon coast tradition be without a carnival? Now with the festival for 50 years, Davis Shows’ Carnival opens Wednesday May 15, at 3 p.m. Discounted all-day unlimited carnival passes are on sale now for $21. Buyers save $7 by buying passes at the Chamber’s office, 290 Highway 101, until 3 p.m. on May 15.

Always a major attraction, the street fair starts at the corner of Bay and Laurel Streets in Old Town, and it features more than 30 vendors and exhibitors. You can catch the street fair Friday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule is packed with fun for the entire family. The 40th annual 5K Rhody Run & Walk starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St. Participants can pre-register at EclecticEdgeRacing.com.

The annual kid’s Junior Parade happens Saturday at noon, featuring games with lots of prizes at the end of the parade route at 27th and Oak Streets.

Other highlights:

The American Rhododendron Society’s Siuslaw chapter will again host the annual rhododendron and azalea show and plant sale at the Florence Events Center on Saturday and Sunday. There is more information on the plants and the event at siuslawars.org.

The Florence Events Center will host the annual Florence Regional Arts Alliance arts festival, starting at 11 a.m.

The annual Coast Radio KCST/KCFM classic car cruise is Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Staging takes place at the Rhody Cruisers’ Classic Car Show’s annual show-n-shine at 21st St. and Highway 101 in the Grocery Outlet and City Lights Cinema parking lot.

The Do-Wah Riders, the nationally-touring high energy country band with a cajun twist perform at 4 p.m. Saturday at the park behind Ixtapa Restaurant at 10th and Highway 101. They’ll also perform at the KCST cruise and the parade. The multi-award-winning “ultimate Elvis,” Justin Shandor, performs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the FEC.

The Rhody Express, Florence’s public transit bus, will offer free rides within city limits Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

For more information on the 2019 Rhododendron Festival contact the Chamber at events@FlorenceChamber.com or 541-997-3128. Lodgings in Yachats - Near Florence - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours








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