In a press conference last week, the Portland Rose Festival Foundation announced that the new Grand Marshal of the 2015 Starlight Parade will be a roll of the old PDX carpet—accessorized with googly eyes and a hat, of course.
The carpet served as an icon for Portlanders’ homecomings for the past 30 years. When the PDX airport announced last year that the carpet would be replaced, it gained even more fame. The pattern is available on merchandise including hats, socks, and shirts.
Officials gathered at the airport’s clock tower on Friday for the announcement. The carpet, nicknamed “PeeDee/Petey” was escorted by TSA agents.
“In any other city in this country, it would likely be considered weird to name a carpet as grand marshal of a major parade, but this is Portland, Oregon, and we do weird very well here,” said Jeff Deering, chairman of the Starlight Parade.
PeeDee will ride in the Grand Marshal’s car at the front of the parade, escorted by several security agents.
“Just when we thought we had seen the PDX Carpet reach the pinnacle of popularity, we get yet another pleasant surprise,” said Stan Watters, Port of Portland project and technical services director. “It’s an honor to have the Portland Rose Festival select the PDX Carpet as the Starlight Parade’s Grand Marshal, and a fitting tribute to the city’s welcome mat.”
Because of PeeDee’s immediate popularity, the Rose Festival office announced that the carpet roll will be available for selfies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 26 for selfies on 1020 SW Naito Parkway.