“Plans are falling quickly into place for our 110th annual Rhododendron Festival, and Florence is ‘Always Ready to Rhody,’” said Florence Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Bettina Hannigan. “The Siuslaw River Coast Guard Station is celebrating its centennial year of service in Florence, and they are our inspiration for this year’s slogan.
“The Coast Guard’s slogan is ‘Semper Paratus,’ or ‘Always Ready,’ and they will be our grand marshal for the annual parade.”
Attendees will need to be always ready to have fun too. The list of events for the three-day celebration is long. The festival runs May 19 to 21, but there are preliminary events too.
The Davis Shows Carnival begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, on the Port of Siuslaw grounds at the east end of Historic Old Town Florence.
The carnival runs through Sunday at 8 p.m. Discount tickets are available now through Wednesday, May 17, at 1 p.m. at FlorenceChamber.com.
Pre-purchasing saves buyers $6 on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s admission, and $7 on Friday through Sunday’s admission.
And no floral festival would be complete without its royal court’s coronation. Queen Rhododendra and the King of the Coast, along with their court, which will be installed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at the Florence Events Center.
Tickets are $10, and $6 for ages 18 and under.
Friday’s events include the royal court’s display at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum (at the corner of Second and Maple streets); the Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) fine art and crafts show and sale at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince St.); and the “Let It Ride” vendor fair at Three Rivers Casino Resort.
Saturday brings the Maple Street vendor fair to Historic Old Town from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the 39th Annual Rhody Run to the FEC (9 a.m. start time).
The Rhody Festival Junior Parade starts at noon at Miller Park with kids’ games to follow at Siuslaw High School.
Siuslaw Middle School shows off its STEAM fair (science, technology, engineering, art and math) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday also features the Let It Ride vendor fair with a motorcycle show, and the Reel Rally Poker Run, both at Three Rivers Casino Resort.
The 25th Annual Rhody Show ’n’ Shine classic car show runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Grocery Outlet parking lot, 2066 Highway 101. Meanwhile, at the FEC, the American Rhododendron Society hosts its flower show and sale from 1 to 5 p.m., and The Emerald City Jazz Kings perform at 2 p.m.
The Florence Elks Lodge (1686 12th St.) will be hosting its annual barbeque and pie sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until the goodies run out.)
The Rhody Court’s display continues at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, and the FRAA art show and sale continues at the FEC through the weekend.
“There’s always so much to do in and around Florence, and Rhody Weekend adds even more fun to this place we call Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” said Hannigan.