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THE DALLES’ 1940 Rose Festival Parade float, featuring Cherry Queen Helen (Spickerman) Elton. Local cherry growers fielded the float.

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Cherry Festival origins stretch back to 1940

The Northwest Cherry Festival story has several beginnings, including the 1979 launch of the modern festival. Some people trace its origins back to 1940, when Helen Spickerman of The Dalles was picked as Cherry Queen. She represented local growers with a full-fledged float in Portland’s Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. But that auspicious beginning was not repeated the following year, and America’s entry into World War II after Pearl Harbor put the idea on hold.

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