City plans reverse Rhododendron Festival Grand Floral Parade

Drive-through parade will take place Sunday, May 16

April 14, 2021 — The City of Florence and its partner organizations are excited to announce that they will host the 114th Rhododendron Festival Grand Floral Parade in reverse! 

In a fun twist, the iconic floats from Florence’s iconic parade will be stationary and the community will be able to drive through them. 

“Our community is committed to continuing our long-standing tradition of the Rhody Days Parade,” said Assistant City Manager Megan Messmer.

The parade will open to drive through guests at noon on Sunday, May 16, starting at the main entrance to Miller Park at 18th Street. More details on what to expect as a viewer will be provided, along with maps, as the event draws nearer. 

Those wanting to participate can register their float beginning today through Monday, May 3, at That is also where people can read the full details and guidelines provided for entrants. 

City staff will provide additional information in a presentation to the Florence City Council on Monday, April 19, at their regularly scheduled meeting via GoToWebinar beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

What is a Reverse Parade? 

The City of Florence is working with community partners to host a COVID-19 safe reverse parade this year to continue the tradition of the Rhododendron Grand Floral Parade, to showcase the community’s creativity and resiliency, and to celebrate local businesses and organizations.

 This year, instead of having our floats travel down the parade route, parade attendees will drive along a lineup of stationery parade floats along Oak Street and 27th Street, starting at Miller Park. 

This will be a float-only parade. 

All floats will be asked to be decorated and/or constructed in the tradition of celebrating Rhody Days. Before the Rhododendron Festival was cancelled, a theme of “Rhody Wonderland” was selected. Floats can follow that theme or come up with their own creative way to celebrate Florence and the Rhododendron Festival. 

The official Rhododendron Festival has been canceled for 2021 and this event does not indicate authorization for unapproved events. 

While we are creating an alternative for the traditional parade, this is a COVID safe event for the Florence community and all participants will be required to follow the rules outlined. 

Float entries will be asked to park their float in place by 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 16, before the parade attendees arrive. The float will remain in this spot until 3:30 p.m., after the last car finishes the route. The last car will be admitted at 3 p.m. 

For more information, visit