Casino's Grand Floral Parade float to honor Tribal fishing traditions

05.30.2019 Dean Rhodes Events

If you go

Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8

Where: Memorial Coliseum down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to downtown Portland ending at Lincoln High School

Admission: Indoor: $30 reserved and $15 supersaver; Outdoor: $30 reserved chairs, $25 reserved bleachers

More info:

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Considering the Grand Ronde Tribe’s return to ceremonially fish at Willamette Falls last October and this spring, it’s no surprise that Spirit Mountain Casino’s float entry in this year’s Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade centers around fishing.

Designed by Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr., the casino’s float “A Culture of Fishing” will be the first one going down the 4.2-mile Grand Floral Parade route on Saturday, June 8, in downtown Portland.

The Tribe’s float – always the first out of Memorial Coliseum -- was built by Portland-based SCI 3.2, which has built every casino float for the last 23 years.

“A lot of Tribal members were saying they wanted the float to reflect Grand Ronde,” Bobb said. “I was discussing it with Jocelyn at the casino and I said, ‘What is current right now, today, that we could reflect?’ Of course, it was the falls and the fishing.”

Sticking within the $70,000 budget for the float, Bobb created a design that reflects the Native American tradition of fishing at the falls.

Spirit Mountain Casino is in the final year of its second three-year sponsorship deal with the Grand Floral Parade. Casino Sponsorship Administrator Jocelyn Huffman said that the parade sponsorship continues to promote the Grand Ronde Tribe’s primary economic enterprise and is important now that the Cowlitz Tribe opened Ilani north of Portland.

“The marketing and advertising benefits are phenomenal,” Huffman said previously. “But it’s also just a great platform to tell the Tribe’s story.”

This year marks the 112th year of the Rose Festival and the 107th time the parade has been held. Because of war and construction issues over the years, the parade has not always been held. It is the 24th year that the casino has participated in the Rose Festival, Huffman said.

The Rose Festival Court made its annual visit to Grand Ronde on Thursday, May 9, stopping off at Chachalu Tribal Museum & Cultural Center and achaf-hammi, the Tribal plankhouse.

Tribal Royalty will participate in the Starlight Parade being held 9 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in downtown Portland and Tribal Royalty and Veterans Royalty will accompany the casino float when it exits Memorial Coliseum and starts the route through downtown Portland on June 8.

The casino also is recruiting employees and community members to travel to Portland on Wednesday and Thursday, June 5-6, to put the final decorating touches on the casino’s float. Those interested in participating should contact Huffman at 503-879-3054.

Last year’s float, “Nature’s Playground,” won the Roseboro Award for the most artistic design and presentation.

“We’re thrilled to be back and again telling the Tribe’s story,” Huffman said. “The design tells a story that we can tell throughout the three-week festival. It’s something going on in the Portland area that reflects that our people have been there since time immemorial. It was kind of a perfect fit for our float design.”