No flower is more beloved or recognizable in the United States than the rose. After all, it’s our national floral emblem and the most common state flower, with Georgia, Iowa, New York, and North Dakota all claiming it as their own.
And the beauty of the rose is celebrated at festivals across the country throughout the spring and summer. So, if you are a fan of this timeless flower and want to get up close and personal to some of its finest examples, here are seven of our favorite U.S.-based rose festivals.
First held: 1922
Where: Thomasville, Georgia
Since 1922, the Rose Show & Festival has been a time-honored tradition in Southwest Georgia. In addition to the thousands of unique roses on display, visitors are entertained by live music and dancing, two parades, arts and crafts, and plenty of delicious food.
First held: 1907
Where: Portland, Oregon
Calling this a festival is somewhat of an understatement. The Portland Rose Festival is one of the largest rose celebrations in the United States, with four parades and dozens of events over the course of two weeks. And, if all that wasn’t impressive enough, it was twice named the “Best Festival in the World” by the International Festivals & Events Association, in 2007 and again in 2011.
First held: 1958
Where: Marshalltown, Iowa
Known as the “Rose Capitol of Iowa,” the small town of Marshalltown has been celebrating the rose since 1958 with its annual State Center Rose Festival. Each year, this quiet town is brought to life as thousands of people flock to The Grand Parade — a 100-float-long parade, featuring beautiful floral designs and costumes.
First held: 1904
Where: West Hartford, Connecticut
With nearly three acres of garden space, Elizabeth Park, the nation’s oldest municipally operated rose garden, is home to more than 800 varieties of roses. As guests walk through the 15,000 rose bushes and arches, they’re treated to poetry readings, dance performances, and many other kid-friendly activities.
First held: 1958
Where: Jackson, Michigan
Known for its bountiful parks and rushing waterways, Jackson has been the home of the Jackson County Rose Festival since 1958, but its association with the rose goes back further than that. In 1931, the city chose the rose as its official flower and dubbed itself the Rose City. The annual Rose Parade is one of the largest parades in Michigan, with more than 100 floats entered each year.
First held: 1933
Where: Tyler, Texas
Mingle with Rose Royalty, attend the Queen’s Tea, tour the floral displays, and watch as parade floats travel past you at the Texas Rose Festival. For 84 years, the town of Tyler has celebrated the rose — a flower so popular in Texas that it made Tyler a prominent location in the North American rose industry.
First held: 1888
Where: Tombstone, Arizona
People flock to Tombstone every April to witness the blooming of the world’s largest rose tree, which is located in the courtyard of the Rose Tree Museum. Other highlights of the celebration include the crowning of the Rose Queen — which kicks off the festivities — a pancake breakfast, an old-fashioned box lunch auction, and the annual Rose Parade.