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Rose Festival officially returns to Inner Southeast Portland

X-Treme Air Dogs and model speedboats
by: , A snapshot of a bit of the action at a past “X-Treme Air Dogs” event, courtesy of Meadowview Productions.

It was the then-President of the Portland Rose Festival, Dick Clark, who pushed the Portland Parks and Recreation Department to find a way to get the Westmoreland Casting Pond refilled, so that the longtime Rose Festival event in Inner Southeast - the Milk Carton Boat Races - could be held there again, after the pond's water supply was lost.

Eventually a way was found, and the Casting Pond was refilled a year ago this month. However, the Rose Festival Association at that time said that the Milk Carton Boat Races would not be back in the foreseeable future, and sure enough, they're still not.

However, in rather tiny type, in the footnote of a recent press release, the Rose Festival reveals that a Rose Festival sanctioned event IS returning to the Casting Pond - on Saturday, May 24th. The announcement:

'The Portland Rose Festival is partnering with the Electronic Radio-Controlled Unlimited Model Hydroplane racing clubs to bring the Hometown Hobbies Rose Festival RC Regatta, presented by Portland Parks and Recreation and TechJet Imaging, to the Westmoreland Casting Pond on May 24'.

So, the historic, WPA-constructed Casting Pond in Westmoreland Park will again be the focus of an official Rose Festival event this year - but it's with model boats now, and not milk carton boats. Nonetheless, it should still be great fun to watch, and the public is cordially invited to turn out on May 24th. The RC boat racers worked hard for years to get the Casting Pond refilled, so it is just that they should be part of the Rose Festival's return to it.

And that's not all.

There is now a SECOND sanctioned Rose Festival event in Inner Southeast this year. In the words of the same press release, 'The Northwest Challenge is excited to bring 'X-Treme Air Dogs' to Portland as an official 2008 Rose Festival event on June 6-8, beginning a new tradition of fun and exciting Rose Festival events in the Sellwood community of Southeast Portland, and providing the Greater Portland Area with its first taste of the X-Treme Air Dogs competition.

'X-Treme Air Dogs teams are made up of one dog and one handler. In the X-Treme Air event, handlers are allowed to throw a single, floatable toy into the water for their dog to chase. Dogs can use the entire area of the 40-foot dock before jumping into the water.

'Dogs are then electronically judged on their distance from the edge of the two-foot high dock to where the base of their tail enters the water. First-time jumpers are encouraged to participate. Teams are divided up into several divisions, from the little jumpers to the Pros. Winners from each division will take home a prize...and bragging rights!'

Those interested in participating in this new Rose Festival canine sport event at Oaks Amusement Park are directed to an Internet website for registration information: www.northwestchallenge.com. Spectators are, of course, welcome all three days. THE BEE will be at both these new events with a camera.