Palm Springs Pride is the perfect opportunity for people of all walks of life to partake in what I like to call rockin’ and rollin’ rainbow revelry!

What started out 25 years ago as a simple gay pride parade—partly as a way to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and also as a way to fight for visibility and equal rights for the LGBT community in the desert—has turned into a party that invites all to participate.  And participate, they do!  My, how times have changed.

The Pride Parade marching up Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is by far my favorite part of the weekend.  Toddlers and parents, drag performers and police officers, plus people of every persuasion all blend in perfect harmony to watch an array of civic, religious, and riotous revelers strut their stuff down the street.  The marching bands of Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs High Schools were a huge hit, as were the parade’s finale of cheerleaders—some being thrown almost 20 feet in the air.

The two-day Pride Festival at the Palm Springs Baseball Stadium welcomed thousands to a celebration that included a pair of performance stages with non-stop acts, scores of booths, vendors serving an array of tasty food, and enough people-watching to satisfy even the savviest social observer.  New this year was the Arenas Road Block Party, an over-21 outdoor soiree on Saturday that provided live entertainment, food and beverages under the stars, and access to the fabled Arenas shops, restaurants, and bars.  There’s no doubt this will become an annual affair!

With each passing year Pride in the Palm Springs Valley becomes more inclusive and more of a universal celebration.  Don’t put off making your plans for next November!