The fabulous Festival of Lights Parade in Palm Springs gives “family fun” a whole new meaning!  Where else can you go to hang out with 80,000 of your new best friends and see some of the most fantastically illuminated floats in the universe?!

Voted one of the best events in the Palm Springs Valley, the 2011 incarnation included humongous, highly anticipated helium balloons for the second year in a row.  Eat your heart out, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Carried by members of the city’s neighborhood organizations, yours truly was asked to join my old pals Don and Woodrow on the parade route as they walked with their group, tethered to a insanely inflated holiday ornament.  And this is where I saw it from a totally different perspective… EVERYONE was smiling!  There were more kids than I have noticed in years, and they couldn’t help but grin at every float and balloon that passed by.

But it’s the lights that make this parade a not-to-be-missed affair.  As a requirement to participate, everything needs to be lit, and even the high school marching bands were bedazzled.  Fire trucks, school busses, a snowplow as big as a school (Diana exaggerate?  Never!), and floats of every size and shape were part of this 19th manifestation of our beloved holiday tradition.

I haven’t missed a single Festival of Lights Parade since the inaugural outing, and I was so happy to be so intimately part of it this year.  Now I can’t wait to see how over-the-top the 20th anniversary spectacle will be.  Join me!  I’m sure you’ll be able to find me in the crowd.  I’ll be the one wearing the lady-lit candy cane-colored socks.

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