Tribal Government & News

Casino float honored during Grand Floral Parade

06.14.2018 Danielle Frost Events, Spirit Mountain Casino, Tribal Employees

By Danielle Frost

PORTLAND -- Rain and drizzle didn’t stop crowds of people, like true Oregonians, from flocking to the uncovered Chalet seating area to watch the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade on Saturday, June 9.

The parade is the highlight of the multi-week Rose Festival in Portland, a 111-year tradition that kicks off Memorial Day weekend with the opening of the CityFair carnival.

The Grand Floral Parade is the second largest floral parade in America, with a variety of different cultures, dancers, marching bands and floats of all shapes and sizes.

Even at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, seating was filling fast with attendees who paid $25 to $30 extra to have the opportunity to sit in a prime viewing area and nosh on scrambled eggs, pastries, fruit, bacon and coffee.

As the crowd waited eagerly for the floats to exit Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the weather alternated between sunny, drizzly and cloudy, although those in attendance were spared predicted thunderstorms.

Spirit Mountain Casino celebrated its 22nd year of being a Rose Festival partner and fifth year as a presenting sponsor. Its float, “Nature’s Playground,” was designed by Portland-based SCI 3.2, which has built every casino float entry since 1996.

Volunteers and community members put the finishing touches on the float earlier in the week, which featured a mother cougar guarding her young as they frolic in a Northwest landscape to illustrate the 2018 theme “Play Happy.” The float won the Peg Roseboro Award for most artistic design and presentation.

The “Play Happy” theme was inspired by the Portland Thorns winning the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League championship, as well as Portland resident Shalane Flanagan winning the 2017 New York City marathon.

Tribal Council members Lisa Leno and Michael Langley attended. It was Leno’s first time at the parade.

“I’m super excited to see our float and our Royalty members come out with it,” Leno said. “Attending the parade has been a bucket list item for me for several years and this is a great opportunity to finally do it.”

Social Services Department Manager Dana Ainam also was viewing the parade for the first time.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I am anticipating all of the floats.”

Ainam added that Spirit Mountain Casino sponsoring the parade is a great opportunity to promote the Tribe.

“I think it helps a lot,” she said. “It shows that we are interested in the community. Chachalu (Museum & Cultural Center) was featured in the Rose Festival program so this is a great way to get the word out.”

A write-up on Chachalu on page 43 of the Rose Festival guide included information on the “Rise of the Collectors” exhibit, which will be on display until May 2019.

The write-up describes the float as featuring the Tribe’s “respect and reverence” for the homeland it now shares with festivalgoers.

“The sponsorship of the Rose Festival’s signature event is a gift to the community, much as the Chachalu Museum & Cultural Center is a gift to the community,” it states.

The Oregon Humane Society was the charity of choice for the 2018 parade and a canine grand marshal was selected for the first time in the event’s 106 years.

Diesel, a 2.5-year-old English Mastiff, is owned by Jennifer Vietch of Sandy. He was selected as grand marshal from approximately 150 entries.

“This is pretty cool to be a part of the parade,” she said. “We weren’t expecting this at all.”

Before the parade began, Grand Ronde Royalty and Veterans Royalty members got a behind-the scenes sneak peek at the various floats in the staging area behind the coliseum, and had the opportunity to exchange hugs with Rose Festival Court members who visited the Elders Activity Center and achaf-hammi, the Tribal plankhouse, on May 29.

Veterans Royalty Junior Queen Tasina Bluehorse, 11, has attended the parade before, but not as a part of Royalty.

“This is pretty cool seeing all of the people here,” she said.

Her favorite part of serving on Royalty is the opportunity to have new experiences.

“I’ve enjoyed going to all of the different events like powwows and parades,” she said.

Tribal Royalty also participated in the Starlight Parade held the previous Saturday on June 2.

As per Portland parade weather tradition, it began raining as the parade began, but that didn’t put a damper on the festivities.

Senior Miss Isabelle Grout, Junior Miss Kaleigha Simi, Little Miss Sophia Grout, Junior Warrior Nacoma Liebelt and Tiny Tot Jameson Turner, along with Veterans Royalty Senior Queen Princess Mabel Brisbois and Bluehorse walked in the coliseum with the float and waved to the crowds before heading outside to the parade route.

As the final floats rolled through the coliseum and chalet area, the clouds parted once again and gave way to sunshine, which led some to continue on to the CityFair carnival, where they could “play happy” and view the floats and mini-floats on display along Naito Parkway.