1908 Rose Festival Parade in downton Portland
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  • 1908 Rose Festival Parade in downtown Portland

With the Rose Festival on Portland's doorstep (the event kicks off tomorrow), downtown braces for a slew of eager tourists, cotton-candy-fueled families, drunken Ferris Wheel riders, and other wildness associated with the lovely festival. But! Let's not forget the real heart behind the 105-year-old event.

To stand up for the necessity of the yearly summer event, a 1907 opinion writer for the Oregonian wrote an impassioned piece (PDF) in support of the festival's continuation after its first year. It looks like Portland was pretty grim until the Rose Festival came along. Here's an excerpt:

"The Rose Festival alone is a season of pure joy, a day or two captured from business and thought and worry to bask in sunshine and breathe the fragrance of flowers.

Everybody will be happier and better all the rest of the year for the festival of roses. Old men will be younger, young men wiser; for there is nothing that contributes so much to wisdom as innocent joy. Let us therefore be happy, at least for a day or two every year. Let us banish care and worry and bask in the odor of roses. And every recurring June may the flowers be sweeter, the sky softer and the children lovelier until we shall forget how to begin the summer without our Festival of Roses."