A Rain Storm and the Starlight Parade


Raylen Satterwhite, Reporter and Web Design

Since 2009 Union High School’s band has attended the Starlight Parade. It’s part of the famed Rose Festival every year in Portland, the city of roses. However, after the long pandemic without being able to attend, the Union High School marching band looks to get back into action. With marching hats, silver-lined marching uniforms, and glowsticks shining brightly they come with style. However, a looming storm of rain threatens the fun. Will the band be able to produce a great performance down the streets of Portland, Oregon? The Rose Festival started in 1907 and only has only been canceled twice. Even during the pandemic, the Rose Festival prevailed. According to Allison Frost from OPB, the parade was a celebration that was inspired by the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. It was the 100th anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s discovery of Oregon. Harry Lane, the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, from 1905 to 1909, commissioned the festivities to celebrate in 1905. Two years later in 1907, it happened. Roughly a million people came to Portland, by boat, train, and even horse. The festival was a hit and it’s happened ever since.

1908 Starlight Parade

The rain-drenched the marching band but it didn’t dampen their spirits. The percussionists were armed with glow sticks and the general band with their shining instruments. On the way, they passed Fort Vancouver, crossed the Colombia river, went past Janson Beach, and finally arrived at the backend of the parade. Ben, a percussionist from the Union Marching Band said,

“[My favorite part was] probably getting to see all the floats. The German folksong float [surprised me]. I don’t remember that from past years.” On the note of the weather, he replied, “[The weather was] terrible. Absolutely terrible.” During the parade, there were a couple of big puddles and the rain was off and on. McKenna, who plays Alto Saxophone for the Union Marching Band enjoyed the parade, 

“YMCA [was my favorite song to play.] It’s so iconic and everyone loves it and dances along to it.” She continued, “The weather was pretty bad, but it could’ve been worse. We definitely have been dumped on before and this was kinda fun, honestly.”

Max, a percussionist from the Union Marching Band said, 

“My favorite part was hearing the other floats perform music. The best float was the Electronic Workers Union.” Like his fellow band mates he stressed, “[It was] the worst possible weather, but what can you do, it’s the northwest.” The whole band got drenched but they all got to enjoy the streets of Portland. The Band Directors, Mr. Morrel and Mr. Siess noted that this year the Starlight Parade wasn’t in it’s former glory. Mr. Siess remarked, 

“The attendance was really bad. It was really slow, it took a long time. The weather was really bad.” Mr. Morrel added,

“And a new parade route.” Mr. Siess agreed. When asked about the best part of the parade he said,

“The sarcastic answer would be getting done. The maybe not sarcastic answer was you guys were all in a good mood and had fun; and we sounded good and had a good TV shot. It all worked [out] pretty well, all things considered.” The parade was different from regular years, however the Union Marching Band made the most of it.

In the end, the Union High School Marching Band put together a respectable set of music. The band ended up finishing their set around 10:00 pm. After they headed back to the school to finally lay their uniforms to rest until the next school year. This marks the 113th Rose Festival. Maybe next year there won’t be any rain. However, there can’t be any flowers without some rain.


Works Cited

“Archives West Finding Aid.” Harry Lane Papers – Archives West,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv37975.

Frost, Allison. “Portland Rose Festival Is Back in Bloom with Full Line up and New Events.” Opb, OPB, 2 June 2022,                                                                                                                                                             www.opb.org/article/2022/05/26/portland-rose-festival-is-back-with-full-line-up-and-new-events/#:~:text=The festival had to be,, rides, concerts and more.

“Portland Rose Festival History.” Portland Rose Festival,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           www.rosefestival.org/p/about/history.