Festival of Lights parade

Saturday night, over 70,000 people thronged downtown to line Palm Canyon Drive for the 11th annual Festival of Lights parade. (Bear in mind that the population of Palm Springs is less than 45,000.)

The parade featured about 100 entries beginning with antique fire trucks and ending with a singing- and dancing-tractor, interspersed with marching bands, horses, pooper-scoopers, cars, garbage trucks, politicians, golf carts and so on—all lavishly lighted, of course. Even the horses sparkled with lighted tails and manes, and many sported tinsel leggings. Awards were given in categories like: Best Big Rig, Best Small Big Rig, Best Lighted Band, Best Decorated Band, Best Lighted Car, Most Creative Band, Best Musical Entry, and so on. How could you not love it?

This parade is clearly one of the highlights of the season. The tribe in front of me had sent Grandpa and Grandma to stake out their territory at 3pm (the parade started at 5:45pm). Needless to say, perhaps, they guarded their space zealously, having invested so much to secure it.

Meanwhile, down at the other end of the Coachella Valley, the Tamale Festival and Parade in Indio attracted 100,000 people earlier in the day. The celebration featured tamales of every kind for every course of the meal from appetizer to dessert. Think Gilroy Garlic Festival with less odor.

For more pictures, check out the slideshow.