Parade and festival

The usual suspects
The usual suspects have an early brunch at 360 North (L-R): Paul, Réal, Ken, Bob

| This past weekend was the annual Gay Pride Festival in Palm Springs. As in recent years the festival took over downtown streets on Saturday and Sunday, and the parade on Sunday started uptown and ended at the festival downtown.

As usual, we went early so we could find parking close to the parade route and claim prime viewing spots on the curb. Our plan was to park, put out our chairs, then have breakfast, as we have done in years past. The difference this year was that many restaurants along the parade route were actually open early; rather than search for an open place we had a plethora of open places to choose from. We chose to go to 360 North and take advantage of the Sunday brunch with bottomless champagne. A perfect way to start the day!

After brunch we walked back across the street, claimed our chairs, and waited for the parade to start. When we arrived at 8am to put out our chairs, there was almost nobody on our side of the street, whereas the sidewalk on the east side of the street was jam-packed with people and chairs sitting in the shade of the buildings. They looked at us smugly, not apparently recalling that the sun does move during the day; while they may have been in the shade at 8am, by 9:15am when we returned they were also in the sun. They weren't quite so smug.

ready for the parade
Ready for the parade to start (Photo mostly by Ken)

The parade took two hours to pass our location and consisted of the usual assortment of floats, marching bands, politicians, drag queens, community groups, people nobody knew riding in convertibles, banks and other businesses eager to promote themselves, and so on. In short, a lot of fun to watch.

One of the most moving entries in the parade was We Are Orlando, consisting of marchers carrying huge photos of the people killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. Some people stood in respect, everyone clapped, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the crowd. It gut-wrenchingly effective in giving meaning to the bald statistic, "49 people killed."

Orlando victims banner
Banner for We Are Orlando unit
Orlando victims - photos
Pictures and names of victims

For more pictures, visit the slideshow in Galleries.

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Last updated on Nov 8, 2016

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