The Rhododendron Festival

Rhododendron FlowersThe vibrant Rhododendron flowers begin their bloom in May, and by June the Florence area is a bounty of colors. The sight is a cause for celebration and The Rhododendron Festival! It has long been the major annual event for Florence. It began as an idea in 1906 of Mayor Dr. George Edward, for an event to promote a then isolated Florence. It was a plan to bring folks from afar for a festive town celebration! And come they did – arriving for the event by horse 1908 Rhododendron Boat Paradedrawn stagecoach, then by train, then automobile. And thus, the legacy began. The Rhododendron Festival has since become among Oregon’s oldest celebrations.

In 1908 decorated boats paraded on the Siuslaw River with the coronation of a Queen Rhododendra taking place on a barge. Today, Queen Rhododendra and King of the Coast are selected with a pageant and coronation held at the Florence Event Center. Princesses and Jr. Princesses are included to complete the Rhododendron Festival Court.

Each year there are no shortages of activities to entertain, excite and satisfy your appetite. Enjoy eventful days of a Rhododendron flower show, Rhody Run, Arts and Crafts, and award-winning Clam Chowder. A festive carnival with rides, games, food and entertainment is on hand. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the closed streets in Old Town during the remarkable Rhody Classic Car Show n’ Shine. Get an up-close look at the one-of-a-kind cars! Take in their street cruise to view them stroll by. A festival parade with floats, clowns and marching bands through town is a site worth seeing! Past events featured a dog mushers mail run, beach stagecoach ride, and 2 appearances by the Budweiser Clydesdale Horses. One year a couple even held their wedding on the street amidst the festivities.

With all the activities and celebrations, the Rhododendron Festival attendance has grown each year, with over 35,000 in recent years. The festival is held every third weekend in May, with various event activities taking place throughout the week.

Rhododendron Festival Carnival
Rhody Days License Plate
2023 Rhododendron Court
Florence in Bloom Book
1972 Rhododendron Princess Dress