I have a Thursday evening tradition that’s hard to break: I head west on the 111 to the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in Palm Springs and join the multitudes who enjoy the weekly VillageFest. www.palmspringsvillagefest.com Located on Palm Canyon Drive smack in the center of town (from Baristo to Amado), this adored affair attracts more than 200 vendors who set up their booths to temp tourists and locals alike to buy their beautiful bounty. There are skilled artists galore who show off their pottery, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, hand made/decorated clothing, drawings, and photographs.
And then there’s the food! I often graze my way through the evening, and it’s not unheard of for me to take a few nibbles home for a late-night snack or a lunch of leftovers. Burgers and sausages. Roasted corn. Chocolates. And my favorite, the Middle Eastern booth with great gyros and vinegary salad. There are also tables full of luscious, locally grown seasonal produce, including some of the freshest dates you will ever pop into your mouth.
VillageFest is both definitely dog-friendly and fabulously family-friendly, with all kinds of things to do with the kids—besides just face-stuffing! There is a mini rock-climbing wall, numerous interesting and fun musicians, a Wizard of Oz-like magician, and even horse-drawn carriage rides. And for those looking to add just a smidgen of culture to the night, trot on around the corner to the Palm Springs Art Museum and take advantage of their 4:00-8:00 p.m. free admission. www.PSMuseum.Org
After 20 years, this Palm Springs Valley institution is still going strong. And I’m hoping I’ll still be around to join in the Fest’s family fun in another two decades. In the meantime, I’m still working up the courage to climb that crazy rock wall!