Let the holidays begin!

Palm Canyon Drive before the parade
Spectators lining Palm Canyon Drive, waiting for the parade to begin

| The annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights parade is the first Saturday in December. It's a time to join thousands of festive people out on the streets on a winter's evening.

The usual suspects this time consisted only of Réal and Paul: Bob wasn't feeling up to it, Ken never comes out for the parade, and the Canadians are still in Canada. Oh well.

We are organized. Although the parade doesn't begin until 5:45pm at the south end of Palm Canyon Drive, we were at our preferred viewing spot near the end of the parade shortly after 4pm to put out our chairs and lay claim to the real estate. And none too soon — rows of chairs already lined the side of the street and it was only because we were two that we found a spot in front of the Palm Canyon Theatre. Having secured our spot, we walked down to Three Sixty North to have a nice dinner where we easily got an inside table. All outside tables along the street had long-since been reserved for dinner/parade-watching.

Then we took up our stations to watch.

Réal got lighted reindeer ears and necklaces for us
Paul wasn't really this shaky, it's the camera's fault
And of course, a reprise of the lighted shoelaces

This year's parade consisted of the usual assortment of balloons, bands, cars, trucks, floats, marching units, and, of course, Santa Claus.

balloons for neighborhood associations
Neighborhood associations wrangle big balloons along the parade route
band
Bands are the hardest to photograph. Sometimes the photos are reasonably clear, like here, but more often they are just a big blur
car with unrecognized dignitary
So many lighted cars carrying unknown, unrecognizable people; when will they learn to attach lighted signs?
float
The Wells Fargo stagecoach was a float instead of a stagecoach
truck
Firetrucks are the easiest to photograph, along with other big trucks; there's plenty of light to yield a good clear photo
Santa Claus
Santa Claus is always the last unit in the parade

Thursday and Friday had been bitterly cold and windy. Saturday morning was also extremely windy. But then, the wind died down, the sun warmed things up, and the evening was very pleasant, indeed. In fact, I never put on more than two light layers of clothes!

As pleasant as the parade is, it has, however, one serious short-coming: lack of music. Except for the bands and an occasional float, the parade streams by in silence. There is plenty of secular music that could enliven the parade, even without resorting to "Grandma got run over by a reindeer"!

Slideshow

For more pictures, check out the slideshow in Galleries.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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