Mission Statement To organize and conduct the Jackson County Rose Festival with the objective of furthering civic pride, publicizing and attracting visitors to Jackson County and Providing recreation for and generally promoting the social welfare of Jackson County. History In 1922 the Town Improvement Society approved the idea of a rose garden for the Ella Sharp Park as a memorial to Ella W. Sharp, the donor of 550 acres of land to the city and the first president of the Town Improvement Society. Society members planted roses and developed the garden, which was dedicated in 1926. Five years later, the rose was chosen as the official flower for Jackson and we became the Rose City. In 1958, Kenneth Bronson and L. James Hilliker decided to organize a Rose Festival during the peak of the rose season, climaxed with a parade from the Jackson County Fair Grounds down Fourth Street, ending at Ella Sharp Park where a family picnic and barbecue were held. In the 1970's the parade route was changed and is still the same today. The Parade starts in downtown Jackson at Michigan Ave and Blackstone Street and continues west on Michigan Ave to Brown Street. The Parade is a celebration for local organizations to honor and reward individuals and groups. The Parade allows schools, scouting troops, churches, civic organizations and businesses to promote a positive image of themselves and the Jackson area. The Rose Parade is one of the largest in Michigan with over 100 entries each year. The selection of a Rosequeen was first added to the program in 1960. The following year a Jackson Rose and Garden Society was organized making one of their functions the sponsorship of the Rose Festival. Over the years. the Festival grew and added more features. Most of the work was done by a few people who expressed the need for more help if the Festival was to continue to grow. The Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce, because of its business leadership and membership talent, was asked to assume the operation and in 1967 accepted the Rose Festival as one of its projects. At the suggestion of the Board of Directors of the Chamber, the Festival was incorporated as the Jackson County Rose Festival in January 1973 and since that time has operated as an independent organization. Today the Jackson County Rosequeen Scholarship Pageant (an official franchise of the Miss Michigan Pageant and the Miss America Pageant) is recognized as the number two local pageant in the nation for their amount of cash scholarships. Each year thousands of dollars in scholarships are awarded to young women to help them further their education. Today the Jackson County Rose Festival is run by a thirty-member Board of Directors and supported by donations from many local corporations and businesses. The Festival supports about five major events each year, the Jackson County Rosequeen Scholarship Pageant and Afterglow, the Rose Parade, Week-End In The Park, the Taste of Jackson and the Christmas Wish List Craft Show. The objective of the organization is to further civic pride, publicizing and attracting visitors to Jackson County and providing recreation for and generally promoting the social welfare of Jackson County.