Family fun abounds at Rose Fest

Anticipation builds and sirens blare as the 2019 Rose Festival Grand Parade begins down Main Street.

STATE CENTER — The 61st Annual State Center Rose Festival drew droves from all over Marshall County to witness the grand parade, kids’ activities, car show, fireworks and more.

The festival kicked off Thursday with “Paint the Town Roses” and the results could be seen along Main Street as the grand parade prepared to roll through Saturday morning. Kids had painted roses and festive messages on several business windows to pretty up the downtown area.

“One of my daughters is marching in the parade,” said festival-goer Ashtyn Beek of Marshalltown.

He was accompanied by his two other daughters. One of them, Adele, said she was especially excited for the parade candy and for the live music.

“I want to see the bands,” she said.

Candy collection at parades can turn into a contact sport, but these boys decided to share when there was plenty of candy thrown their way.

Adele also showed a lot of interest in the petting zoo at the Gutekunst Public Library.

Theresa Orlovsky and Vickie Unferth both said Saturday was their first ever Rose Fest experience.

“I’ve never been here before. This is my first local festival,” said Unferth, who recently moved to Central Iowa from Wisconsin.

Orlovsky said she was most excited to see the parade and stroll through the city’s famous rose garden.

The visitors to Saturday’s festivities were in the presence of newly-crowned royalty.

A petting zoo at the Gutekunst Public Library draws a crowd.

“It was really fun, though, and I’m super excited to represent my community,” said 2019 Rose Queen Carlie Brown, who was crowned Friday evening at the rose garden. “All the girls are really close friends of mine, so it was just great getting to have fun with them every morning.”

Carlie and 2019 Rose Princess Caitlin Rahn, both West Marshall High School students, were honored after participating in Thursday’s Rose Queen Pageant.

“I was shocked. I honestly did not think I was getting anything, so it was crazy but really awesome,” Rahn said. “Just being around the girls and bonding with them and getting to know them was a really awesome experience.”

Brown was also honored as the talent portion winner at the pageant. Fellow participant Teresa Disney was recognized as “René’s Rose” and Payton Halverson was awarded the Personality Petal and won the pageant essay portion.

The grand parade was followed by the West Marshall Baseball Tournament, State Center Fire Department pork burger lunch fundraiser, fun zones for kids, the annual classic car show, the Bill Riley Talent Show and much more.

2019 Rose Queen Carlie Bown, left, and Rose Princess Caitlin Rahn, right, were crowned Friday evening.

The festivities wrap up Sunday with a fundraiser breakfast at Lincoln Valley and a community church service at the rose garden. A fire department water ball fight will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.