Monday, December 05, 2011
Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade
Some of the more charming moments in Palm Springs occur during the many ambitious small-town parades that celebrate everything from Veterans Day to Gay Pride Day to the high school's Homecoming.
This Saturday featured the 20th annual Festival of Lights parade, which was a delirious mixture of marching bands...
...and brightly decorated vehicles that included Corvettes, dumpster trucks, big rigs, fire engines and buses, not to mention the dancing tractor below.
According to The Desert Sun, "The world's largest farm tractor makes an appearance at the Festival of Lights Parade. The tractor, made by John Deere, is 13 feet tall, 17 feet wide and 30 feet long. It's owned by Prime Time International, a Coachella-based produce company."
To add to the drama, huge Christmas balloon figures are led by teams from various neighborhood associations with ropes, which requires serious navigational skills to get around or under the street signals that stretch low across Palm Canyon Drive.
The wild winds whipping through California had recently subsided or the attendants to the monster nutcracker above would have risked being blown away to Indio.
The parade was nominally secular but plenty of Christian groups participated, including the bilingual Jews for Jesus sect above.
There were also plenty of local politicians being driven down the boulevard, but the only explicitly political message was the lunatic float above. Our funny group of middle-aged gay guys, led by the loud and consistently brilliant John Goldsmith, started the crowd booing at our intersection and reportedly the vehicle was met with similar reactions along the route.
After an hour and a half, Santa finally arrived on a Midcentury Modern rooftop, and the shivering crowd of about 50,000 packed up and drove away.