‘Virtual’ Rhody Days still celebrated

Florence recognizes 113th Rhododendron Festival

May 20, 2020 — Although the 113th annual Rhododendron Festival was officially canceled earlier this year, the City of Florence and Florence Area Chamber of Commerce held the Grand Floral Parade virtually on Sunday. The 36-minute video includes highlights from students, bands and community members, plus the 2020 Rhody Court. Watch it online through www.ci.florence.or.us/community/2020-rhody-parade.

In addition, Chamber Ambassador Mike Bones, owner of Bones Nursery and member of the Siuslaw Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, wanted to keep the parade real for the community.

“I just really felt like we needed a parade, especially this year, so I decided I would just walk the parade route and remind people about what it means to our town,” Bones said.

He filled a wheelbarrow full of rhododendrons and walked the usual parade route — starting on Highway 101 and working his way over the next hour along the highway and down Kingwood and Bay streets through Historic Old Town Florence before ending at the Port of Siuslaw.

Other community members also got moving with Florence Habitat for Humanity’s Rhody Run.

“It may not have been our normal celebration, but this town is awesome and we knew the Rhody Fest must go on, even if it was virtual,” said Habitat Executive Director Janell Morgan. 

People can still purchase commemorative Rhody Days shirts and hoodies from Habitat. For more information, visit florencehabitat.org or call 541-902-9277.