Celebration of life held for Portland icon Darcelle

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:55 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The show goes on for one Portland icon who passed away in late March.

At the age of 92, Walter Cole, known to many as Darcelle, was the oldest performing drag queen in the world.

Tuesday night, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall held a celebration of life in their honor.

The line to get into the sold-out show went on for a block, and on a sunny day, waiting in line was no problem.

“What a glorious day. It’s been rainy, it’s been wet and miserable. Darcelle brought the sunshine today.”

SEE ALSO: ‘The show goes on’: Darcelle XV Showplace draws crowds after Portland legend’s death

The feeling of anticipation for the show to come was hanging over the large crowd, even for those who were performing.

“We’re just here to celebrate our friend that is no longer with us,” one drag queen said.

“We want to give a great memorial for Darcelle, we want to show the love to the community and the cast,” a fellow performer added.

“Darcelle helped me learn so much during my 20-plus years at the club,” a third performer said, “and I just can’t wait to celebrate her tonight.”

As the doors opened around 6 p.m., the massive crowd was turned loose.

One man described that each ticket was like a tribute to someone who touched the lives of an entire city: “To pay homage to someone who has been here for this community for over 50 years.”

“Darcelle has been a legend in this town for as long as I can remember,” a spectator said. “I’ve been coming to her shows for just as long.”

If you missed the show, you can find a link to the livestream here.