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Rose Festival includes a ticket to happiness

Chance meetings are part of annual city event, just like the carnival and parades
by: COURTESY OF VINA CARPENTER Vina Carpenter and her husband, former Navy sailor Tim, met in an odd way 20 years ago — with Vina getting his attention through windows on the eighth floor of buildings.

When the Rose Festival fleet comes floating in, which happens this year June 8 to 12, people flock to the dock along the Willamette River to greet sailors - a fair share of Rose City's female population included.

On June 6, 1991, Vina Carpenter greeted her U.S. Navy sailor - and her future husband - from the eighth floor of the Crown Plaza Building. She didn't know it then, but seaman Tim Carpenter was in one room on the eighth floor of the Marriott Downtown Waterfront while she signaled him from the office tower.

Talk about a chance encounter.

'I was young and gregarious, then, and thought, 'What the heck?' I made my way to the window to see if I could get his attention, and I caught his eye,' says Vina, then 20 and a Roosevelt High grad. 'We waved at each other. So, I got a piece of paper, wrote my name and number on it and posted it on the window.

'One of his friends called and I said, 'Can I talk to the other guy?' We started talking. He told he was here with the U.S.S. Berkeley and I said, 'Oh, my gosh.' I hear about people getting their heartbroken (from sailors), and I didn't want it to be a quick 'Hi' and 'Bye.' We went out with my girlfriends and hit it off, hung out the whole weekend here.'

On the final night of Tim's shore leave, the smitten couple went to a Chinese restaurant.

'We ended up getting the same fortune cookie,' Vina says. It read: 'Stop searching for happiness, it's next to you.'

The rest is history. The two stayed in touch while Tim was stationed in San Diego. He received his discharge, moved to Portland with all his belongings in one Navy bag and they went about living their lives happily ever after.

As Portland celebrates its Rose Festival, the Carpenters celebrate 20 years together - and 18 years married, having tied the knot June 11, 1993. They have a son, Julian, 11, and a daughter, Souvanny, 9.

So, when the city's young women look to meet a sailor of their dreams during this year's Rose Festival fleet week, Vina is a living testament that such a thing does happen.

Although, 'I've had friends ask me how'd I do it, and I didn't intend for it to happen,' she says. 'When you're looking for love, it doesn't come to you.

'Girls go out and they're looking for love, but I really stayed away from the Rose Festival for the whole reputation of the girl-meets-guy thing. To actually meet a guy who happened to be in the Navy … oh, no, he had no intention of it being a long-lasting relationship.'

Vina works in sales for a steamship line, Tim owns a fire security systems company.

For good measure, the couple closes on its dream house in Sandy on June 13.

'We're gonna get some farm animals, some goats, some chickens,' Vina says.

• Don't worry, folks, cotton candy and elephant ears and shaved ice will always been part of Rose Festival.

But, the new CityFair opened last weekend at Waterfront Park, and remains open the next two weekends, and a couple vendors have taken steps toward healthier menus.

The city, led by Commissioner Nick Fish's office, has worked with Rose Festival Chief Executive Officer Jeff Curtis on a handful of projects relating to the Healthy Portland initiative, producing the 'Healthy Vendor Challenge.' Vendors have been asked to add healthy choices and options to existing menus, a pilot project and collaboration between the city and Multnomah County.

Fifteen vendors participated in the orientation, with two vendors voluntarily taking on the challenge: Golden Grill and Totally Bubbalicious.

Golden Grill added a half-size portion to its menu, fresh fruit and veggie side dishes and a no-sugar-added beverage option. Totally Bubbalicious also provides a no-sugar-added beverage and a fresh fruit smoothie. Each received an incentive check of $100 from the county for participation.

It's a start anyway, says Emily Hicks, Fish's policy coordinator.

'We can't be food police,' she says. 'Requiring things is not always the best way to get real change, but we want to give options as possible ways to get there.'

The city and county will also be working with vendors at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

Hicks says the city doesn't want Rose Festival vendors to get rid of their sweets.

'We definitely want to come back next year and work with other festivals that are hosted in our park system,' Hicks says. 'This is a learning opportunity. … We're working our way slowly to, wherever you are in a public park festival, there are healthy choices available.'

The city and Rose Festival are also putting on a service project involving the festival princesses, connected to healthy food and wellness. The princesses will be working on Woodlawn Community Garden, from 3 to 5 p.m. June 10.

• Several changes have taken place with the Rose Festival, including the newly named CityFair, the RoZone Concert Series at Waterfront Park, a new mascot in Clown Prince and 13 newly sanctioned events. The new events are (with complete info at rosefestival.org):

28th Annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival (took place May 14-15)

A Carnival of Sound (June 12, First Methodist Church)

America, the Beautiful (June 17, George Fox University/Newberg, June 24, Skyview High School, Vancouver)

Fit 2 Print: The Art Institute of Portland Annual Fashion Show (June 4, The Pure Space)

Japan Showcase (June 9, Two World Trade Center)

On This Day (June 11, Oregon Convention Center)

Pedal to the Medal (through Sept. 4, Oregon History Museum)

Portland Music Co./Rose Festival Battle of the Bands (took place May 14)

Recycled Arts Festival (June 25 and 26, Esther Short Park, Vancouver)

Rose Festival Drag Races (June 11 and 12, Woodburn Dragstrip)

Swan Island Rose Festival Criterium (July 2, Swan Island)

The Senior Health Expo (continues June 3, Double Tree-Lloyd Center)

Wilsonville Festival of Arts 2011 (June 4 and 5, Town Center Park)

• This and that:

The Rose Festival has reintroduced adult beverages to CityFair, with Happy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, June 2 and 3 and June 9 and 10. … Craig Morgan (June 11) highlights musical acts in the new RoZone Concert Series at Waterfront Park. A big night should be June 10, when Crazy 8's (7:45 p.m.) and Cherry Poppin' Daddies (9:30 p.m.) hit the stage. And, Portland band And And And takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. June 12. … Unlimited admission to CityFair can be purchased when people buy the Rose Festival souvenir pin for $5 at area Fred Meyers, Dennis' 7 Dees, the Rose Garden Store and the Rose Festival office. Unlimited ride wristbands are available for $30 at CityFair and $25 if pre-purchased on-line. … A mass wedding ceremony and reception, called 'On This Day,' will be held at Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 5:30 p.m. June 11. … The Youth Silent Film Festival, which debuted last year at the Hollywood Theatre, was named 'Best New Event' by the International Festival and Events Association. It took place May 24 and 25 this year, and winners will be screened before the showing of 'From One Rose,' 7 p.m. June 11 at Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. … The new Clown Prince mascot represents the spirit of the Rose Festival and its whimsical love of laughter, ceremony and royalty; legend states that Clown Prince started as a young boy named Angel, who Rose Festival Queen Thelma in 1914 sent across the world to see the best festivals, rose gardens and clowns, and Angel reported back last year, saying that Portland had the best of everything. He'll appear in the Starlight Parade, June 4, Junior Parade, June 8, and Grand Floral Parade, June 11. … The One More Time Around Again Marching Band performs at CityFair, 3 p.m. June 4, and during the Starlight and Grand Floral parades. … The grand marshals for Portland's three big parades have quite the varied stories: Darcelle XV for the Starlight, Scooby Do for the Junior and the Oregon Ducks football team (including coach Chip Kelly) for the Grand Floral. … KGW will televise the Starlight (8:30 p.m. June 4) and Grand Floral (10 a.m. June 11) parades and Queen's Coronation (8:30 a.m. June 11). … The 14 Rose Festival princesses will receive royal treatment from students at a local beauty school, Phagans School of Hair Design, before the Grand Floral Parade.

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