A new festival location and the year of the dog
November 8, 2018 | This past weekend was the annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival and Parade, featuring a new festival venue and a full weekend of activities that drew people to Palm Springs from all over.
In past years the usual suspects have made a day of it, starting with the parade and then going to the festival after the parade. But Réal had to work on Sunday, so we decided to go to the festival on Saturday evening. It was a great decision, if I do say so myself. The festival this year was again held downtown Palm Springs but in a different location. Instead of taking over the length of Palm Canyon Drive, this year's festival was set up on several blocks adjacent to Palm Canyon in a area being called Downtown Park. In our view it was perfect: it was spread out, rather than in a long tunnel; Mt San Jacinto was a gorgeous backdrop, and there were many new exhibitors.
Probably the most startling and pleasant discovery we made was that the old parking garage across from the Museum is being remodeled, and if you play your cards right you can park your car and pop-up a few steps from the heart of downtown! None of us — longtime residents all — had any idea that the garage was so capacious and extended so far in so many directions.
One of the new exhibitors was Ammi's Spice selling jars of a very tasty tomato chutney made from grandmother's recipe. After a nice chat with the proprietress and her Ammi (mother), we had to buy jars to take home.
The parade on Sunday went off like clockwork. After the inevitable gap between the traditional Dykes on Bykes, accompanied by a few Boyz on Bikes, the parade proceded apace and lasted two hours. At the end of the parade, swarms of spectators followed the final units down the street to the festival where the parade officially ended.
Bob forgot to bring his hat, and so he improvised by using a small tote bag he had with other supplies for the day. It was a clever attention-getting move on his part, because almost everyone who came by noticed his "hat" and remarked on it. One woman said it reminded her of the Unknown Comic, best known for his appearances on the Gong Show wearing a paper bag over his head. Anyone handing out swag went immediately to Bob. Don and I felt sorely neglected.
The parade itself had something for everyone.
Tradition. As is traditional, a contingent of Dykes on Bikes, joined by a few Boyz on Bikes, got the parade started by clearing the streets and awakening everyone's eardrums with the vroom, vroom of their engines. They were not-so-closely followed by the Hot Rodeo cowboys and the Desert Winds Freedom Band.
Bare skin. If you got it, flaunt it! And there were plenty of young lads flaunting their gym-honed bods.
Drag queens. They are everywhere! Even at the top of tramway for Drag Brunch on Sunday!
Gay-friendly biz. Businesses know who has the money, and they were eager to showcase themselves, from banks to bordellos (well, no bordellos, but it sounded good).
Clubs and organizations. They were all their marching: leather men, Sisters, flaggers, floggers, and lots of others.
Joiners. Everybody loves a parade, and some people and things appear in every parade, no matter what the occassion or theme: the Hoover lady, the disco car, the mayor, and others.
Dogs and more dogs. This was definitely the year of the dog. Of every ilk, from frou-frou toys to pit bulls, many decked out in their own rainbow colors. Prancing down the street or riding regally in a baby buggy. Or being carried. Dogs everywhere!
Rainbow garb. Rainbow stylings seemed to be an "in" thing this year: lots of rainbow tutus (on boys and dogs), rainbow leggings, rainbow dresses, rainbow wigs, rainbow wings. You name it, somebody had it in rainbow.
Last updated on Nov 8, 2018