The Rose Festival has been celebrated in Santa Rosa since 1894, when Santa Rosa city planner and clothier Thomas P. Keegan floated the idea to promote community pride and creativity.

Over its 124-year history there have been clowns and queens, grand marshals and cartoon characters parading downtown in a sea of roses.

Despite its longevity, there may be a few historic details you are unaware of. Did you know that although horticulturist Luther Burbank took part in the event as early as 1914, it wasn’t until 1950 that it took on his name? Or that early festivals were themed after the pagan sporting festivals of ancient Greece?

The Luther Burbank Rose Parade & Festival is 9 a.m., Saturday May 19 in downtown Santa Rosa. Visit for more information and street closure details.

Click through the gallery above to learn other historic tidbits about the long-running floral parade and festival.