1965 Leathernecks Sr D&BC


In conjunction with the Portland (OR) Rose Festival, the Portland Leathernecks Sr Drum & Bugle Corps established their own drum corps show first held on June 6, 1964 called “Drumkhana”.  Undoubtedly derived from The Rose Festival parade called “Merrykhana”.


Select RED text for links to more data.

Drumkhana – 1966 Show Photos

Drumkhana – Random Photos and Ephemera



The history of Merrykhana:

“We all have at least one relative who doesn’t quite fit in. A black-sheep cousin, perhaps, who causes trouble at Thanksgiving and whom you sometimes wish you could forget.

But even as the Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade celebrates its 40th anniversary this year (2016), it’s hard not to remember its naughty predecessor, the Merrykhana Parade.

In the family of Rose Festival parades, the Merrykhana is that rowdy cousin. Often described as zany – a huge understatement – it served as a warm-up for the elegant Grand Floral Parade before devolving into a reckless water fight in 1972.

“The after-action police report said it was ‘the wildest, wettest, drunkenest brawl ever seen on the streets of Portland,'” said current Rose Festival Chief Operating Officer Marilyn Clint, who still remembers the Merrykhana Parade’s antics firsthand. But it wasn’t always that way.

From 1925, the Merrykhana continued the tradition of an illuminated nighttime parade that started atop electric trolley cars in the first Rose Festival in 1907.

The Merrykhana was always decidedly offbeat, a deliberate counter to the pomp and poise of the Grand Floral Parade. In place of the Royal Rosarians, the Merrykhana had its Rainmakers, a civic group that innocently squirted spectators from floats and waved inverted umbrellas.

Instead of Rose Princesses dressed in fancy gowns, there was the raindrop court, all clad in bathing suits and lewdly described as “leggy” and “curvaceous” in The Oregonian.

Hey, it was the ’60s. The Merrykhana was irreverent, but pleasantly so.

But by 1970, spectators had gotten wise to the Rainmakers’ drizzly tricks and began bringing water weaponry of their own to send a little return fire. That playful game of squirt vs. squirt escalated to full-on water warfare in what would become the final Merrykhana Parade in 1972.
A letter to the editor in The Oregonian the following describes the mayhem from the vantage of a drummer marching in the parade.

“Not content with a few water balloons filled with clean water, the curbside rowdies…doused marchers and float riders with containers of filthy water scooped up out of the gutters,” the letter read. “It wasn’t a parade anymore. Just a water fight between the spectators and parade participants with the hoses.”

Rock-filled water balloons, ice cubes and even frozen water balloons also made their way into the mix that year, according to various reports. Rose Festival officials and Portland Police weren’t impressed, and they pulled the Merrykhana Parade from the 1973 festival schedule about six months later.
An editorial headline in The Oregonian following that news proclaimed, “Night parade no loss.”

Pulling no punches, the editorial continues: “It had become an embarrassment, a wholly out-of-character event as a keynote of what is designed to be a week of joy and good will.

“The ‘merry’ had gone out of Merrykhana in recent years, destroyed by the rowdy behavior of both spectators and participants who fancied that it was fun to douse each other with water, ice cubes or any other substance that came to hand.”
It had become the kind of parade, the editorial said, that “can be enjoyed only by the minority foolish enough to get a kick out of making other people uncomfortable.”

Hoping to for a more wholesome replacement, the Rose Festival reintroduced a nighttime parade in 1976, billed as the Bicentennial Starlight Parade to celebrate the nation’s 200-year mark. Of course, this one had some new rules: no water fights.

Clint was a brand-new member of the Rose Festival staff at the time. “I had the dubious honor of sending out the new rules,” she said. “What a baptism by fire. People were not happy.”

Despite any early grumbles, though, the Starlight Parade has continued for 40 years, presumably without a single frozen water balloon being chucked between the floats and the sidewalk. And though it may be a bit more strict and straight-laced than the Merrykhana ever was, the Starlight still gets invited to family gatherings.”


Wow.  Now that’s a colorful history. 


Back to the Leathernecks.

The Drumkhana competition ran from 1964 thru 1969.  The results are as follows.


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