“Iris Capital of the World” – City of Keizer

Keizer throw blanket donated to the Keizer Heritage Museum by Keith & Karen Claggett.

The Keizer City Council officially designated the city as the “Iris Capital of the World” in 1987 to honor the local growers of this beautiful spring flower and coordinate with the annual parade held at that time every May.

Keizer throw blanket (pictured) donated to the Keizer Heritage Museum by Keith & Karen Claggett. We have not found the source of the blanket or if there are others in circulation.

The notable iris plant got its start just north of Keizer in 1947 when the Schreiner family moved their family garden business from Minnesota (established in 1920) to Oregon. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens is located north of Keizer at 3625 Quinaby Road NE with fields rotating nearby. https://www.schreinersgardens.com/schreiner-family-history




Connie Schreiner Kendall (right) in Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, c.1960 [Photo: Schreiner Family]

At the time of Keizer’s “Iris Capital of World” designation there were two local iris farms.

Cooley’s Gardens closed in 2011. Cooley’s Gardens started as a back yard hobby of Rholin and Pauline Cooley in Silverton, Oregon. They produced their first commercial catalog in 1928 and went on to become one of the largest iris firms in the US, lasting 83 years as of 2011. https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2011/10/cooleys-gardens-classic-garden-closes.html

Keizer’s annual parade was organized in 1950 by the Keizer Commercial Club. The newly formed Commercial Club desired to promote local businesses and the “Keizer Days Parade” commenced on Saturday, June 24, 1950. Over the years the parade and festivities have grown. What began as a neighborhood kids parade in Manbrin Gardens became an event that draws people along River Road the city’s main corridor.

Keizer Flaghttps://www.keizer.org/KeizerFlag

WHEREAS, the Iris has become a favorite in northwest gardens because of its variety, beauty and durability; NOW,‘ THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Keizer, Oregon

  1. That the City of Keizer, Oregon, be designated as the “IRIS CAPITAL OF THE WORLD”.
  2. That the Iris be designated as the City’s official flower.
  3. That the City of Keizer will encourage business and property owners within the City of Keizer to plant irises to reflect the City’s Iris Capital of the World theme.
    – PASSED this 7th day of December, 1987.


1988 Keizer Days Parade became Keizer Iris Festival Parade.

Keizer Parade History (along River Road)

1940s – Manbrin Gardens Children’s Parade

1950 – June 24 “Keizer Days Parade” sponsored by Keizer Commercial Club

1974 – Keizer Junior Miss scholarship program was included in activities

1980 – Keizerfest (carnival, musical entertainment) sponsored by St. Edward Catholic Church

1987 – Dec 7, Keizer City Council designated Keizer, Oregon as the “Iris Capital of the World”

1988 – Keizer Days Parade became Keizer Iris Festival Parade

2019 – Keizer Iris Festival becomes Keizerfest (Saturday – Third Weekend in May)

2020-21 – Cancelled/Changed to August due to Covid-19!

2022 – August 11-14, Keizer Fest 2022 Theme:  “Where were you in ‘82?”

Celebrating Keizer’s 40th Birthday!


https://www.facebook.com/KeizerFEST (new)


1982-2022 – Keizer’s 40th Anniversary

On November 2, 1982, an unincorporated area of Marion County north of the city of Salem, 4,713 acres or 7.36 square miles, was incorporated at the general election.  This seventh and final attempt resulted in a successful vote of 4,440 to 3,341.  The city of Keizer became the 12th largest city in Oregon with a population of 19,650.

Presently, at a population of 37,505, Keizer is the 14th largest City in Oregon.  It is nestled in the center of the Willamette Valley and is recognized as the “Iris Capital of the World.”


Keizer throw blanket donated to the Keizer Heritage Museum by Keith & Karen Claggett. We have not found the source of the blanket or if there are others in circulation. The woven blanket was made by “We Love Country” and made in the USA. This may be the same company with name change. https://www.purecountry.com/throw-blankets-by-design Here’s a similar one: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vtg-johnstown-pa-landmark-woven-1932006120 Note: Volcanoes Stadium was established in 1997. The throw was done about that time.

Images highlighted in the throw: McNary High School, Blake House (now Log House Garden event site), Spong’s Landing (now a Marion County park), Evans house (now Mommy and Maddi’s restaurant), Keizer Schoolhouse (now Keizer Cultural Center and location of the Keizer Heritage Museum).