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.


AphotoAday said...

Love that lighted bus!
Hate the Vote Republican - Save America float!
(((I'd rather believe it was just a joke to get a rise out of folks)))

Axel Feldheim said...

Well if this doesn't put one in the holiday mood, not much else will. I feel like I was there!

Civic Center said...

Dear Axel: Thanks. My usual bah humbug attitude towards the season took quite a turn in Palm Springs, though now that I've returned to San Francisco, so has my misanthropy.

avoicewithspirit said...

I appreciate your take, Axel, as well as those who have commented. In being the first announcer of the parade in its 20-year history, I was fairly focused on the script and timing, so it is interesting to hear some on-the-street perspectives. I do hope y'all liked the more personal in-the-crowd ad libs I did with kids. To me, that makes the community more real and hopefully brings people together.

Blessings to all,

Mitch Earle