PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- As temperatures in Southern California's desert paradise finally start to cool down, Palm Springs is ready to celebrate LGBT pride this weekend.
Although most Pride celebrations in the United States occur during the summer months, summer temperatures soaring well over 100 degrees would not be ideal for an outdoor parade and festival so organizers have opted to annually host their event in the first week of November.
Pride week is in full swing in the City of Palm Springs, with the two-day festival, first ever block party, and parade happening this weekend.
Because of Palm Springs' proximity to San Diego and Los Angeles, the relatively gay-friendly resort town will likely be filled this weekend with people from throughout Southern California and beyond getting a second and final dose of LGBT pride before this year before gearing up for the 2012 pride season.
As the Palm Springs Pride celebration grows, the organization continues to add new features and attractions for the community to celebrate. Visitors to this weekend's festivities will likely be pleased with the new additions such as the block party and pool party, while partaking in long-standing traditions such as the parade and festival.
The two-day Palm Springs Pride Festival will take place in the Palm Springs Stadium in Sunrise Park. The main part of the festival will take place on the field, and will be complete with food, beverages, entertainment, music, vendor booths, and other features that one might expect at a pride festival.
The US Bank Main Stage will include two-days of entertainment, including four headliners: Frenchie Davis, Cece Peniston, Ultra Nate, and Debby Holiday.
More than 30 other entertainers, musical acts, and performance groups are scheduled to take the stage throughout the weekend.
Participants will also have the opportunity to dance in the new 40 x 40 outdoor dance tent that includes a diverse line-up of DJs and music.
Also at the festival will be a Farmer's Market presented by Vons, expanded bar service featuring Bud Light, Milagro Margaritas, and Stoli Vodka, and the Authors' Village.
Added to the pride lineup eleven years ago, organizers say that the Authors' Village is one of the largest collections of best selling writers to ever appear at the festival grounds. The area will include readings, discussions, panels and featured presentations throughout the weekend.
Of the authors scheduled to appear include Felice Picano who will discuss coming out in New York and his book True Stories.
More festival attractions include the AARP Walgreens Wellness Tour Bus; Great Autos Classic Car Display; and over 150 exhibitors and community groups.
Single day general admission tickets to the festival are $10 and can be purchased online. The festival is open to all ages.
Arenas Road Block Party
Event organizers tell San Diego Gay & Lesbian News that the buzz around the desert is Pride's newest attraction: the Arena Road Block Party.
The free street celebration taking place along one of Palm Spring's "gayest" blocks is expected to draw thousands of revelers downtown to celebrate Pride Saturday evening.
Taking place Saturday, Nov. 5, from 6 to 11:30 pm, the event will include an all-star entertainment line-up featuring Cazwell; pop artist Simon Curtis; and a line-up of DJs, including DJ Paul V, and DJ Dance Bitch.
The 21+ event take place right outside some of Palm Springs' hottest nightspots, and include beverage service. Street performers will also line the block to add to the festive atmosphere.
The Pride festival has been scheduled to end early this year, at 6 pm, to encourage participants to head downtown to the block party.
“This is an opportunity to bring your friends and celebrate Pride in Palm Springs style," said Ron deHarte, executive vice president of Palm Springs Pride. "No need to pay covers or buy pricey admission tickets - this pride celebration is for the entire community.Bring your friends and enjoy the music under the stars on Arenas Road as this will be the place to be on Pride weekend!"
The block party will take place on Arenas Road at Indian Canyon Drive.
The annual Palm Springs Pride Parade will kick off at 10 am Sunday, Nov. 6. Thousands of people are expected to view the parade which will follow Palm Canyon Drive through the heart of Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Pride organizers recently announced that in honor the 25th anniversary of the pride celebration, a 500-foot rainbow flag will traverse the parade route.
Community leaders, students, and others will help carry the flag down the parade route. The contingent is being billed as the largest rainbow flag ever to appear in the dessert, and possibly the largest in a Southern California parade.
Those who would like to help carry the flag should contact Palm Springs Pride immediately.
Parade grand marshals include Caleb Laieski who gained national attention as a young activist who has stood up against bullying since he was in the eighth grade; and Mindy Reed, a successful entrepreneur, firm believer in equal rights and an active community member.
Legally married in 2008, Lee Walton and Phil Catalli founded a chapter of Front Runners and Walkers in Palm Springs and will serve as community grand marshals. Finally, radio personalities Bill Feingold and Kevin Holmes will participate in the parade as celebrity grand marshals.
The parade will start at W. Ramon Rd. and travel north on Palm Canyon Drive to Alejo Drive. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to get a spot.
If you go
In normal conditions, Palm Springs is about a two-hour drive from San Diego.
While hotels in the area may be full or at near capacity, Palm Springs Pride has a list of suggested accommodations on its website.
A full list of all Pride events, including the Hot & Wet Pool Party, drag pageant, and 5K Run & Walk, is also available online.
Left photo: Cazwell, who will perform Saturday night at the Arenas Road Block Party. Credit: Facebook
Ultra Nate is one of the festival's headline performers: