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Palm Springs salutes the rainbow stripes with pride - GTH
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Palm Springs salutes the rainbow stripes with pride

Palm Springs’ pride parade meanders down avenues ringed by the city’s iconic palms // photo courtesy Palm Springs Pride

Fall has just arrived and the temperatures are starting to drop. For destinations likes Palm Springs, where summers are hot enough to melt your lollipop, this means it’s time to party.

The Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival celebrates its 26th Anniversary, November 1-4, 2012, with multiple block parties, a two-day festival and what is considered to be one of the most scenic pride parades. This year the theme “Long May It Wave!” is a salute to the worldwide symbol of equality whose rainbow stripes have led a fight for equality while embracing diversity and celebrating the unity of our community.

Here’s the skinny on some of the happenings  that will make this year’s Pride Festival “the must attend” fall event:

  • THURSDAY, November 1

LGBT Center Concert
Kicking off Pride festivities, the LGBT Center of the Desert presents Center Stage, a benefit concert headlined by Megan Mullally & Supreme Music, with special guest emcee Ross Mathews at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Arrive early to bid on some of the wonderful items at the silent auction and support a worthy cause.

  • FRIDAY, November 2

Miss Broadway in Drag
Tonight  the Palm Springs Canyon Theater will raise the curtain for beautiful female impersonators who will entertain spectators as they are judged on evening gown, talent and swimsuit.

Pride Honors Awards
The prestigious Palm Springs Pride Honors Awards are presented annually to individuals to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies. The awards will be presented at a reception at the Hyatt Regency Suites in Palm Springs.

Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to the LGBT rights pioneer and founder of Metropolitan Community Church Troy Perry, and Viola Johnson, recognizing her four decades of activism and leadership in the leather community.  Mason Davis will be recognized as 2012 Spirit of Stonewall Special Guests for his activism and service on behalf of the transgender community; and a life-long feminist and activist Ruth Debra along with Gary Moline, Dean McDowell and the Desert Winds Freedom Band will be recognized with Spirit of Stonewall Community Service Awards.  AIDS Walk Palm Springs is the 2012 Advocate of the Year and Arlene Rosenthal, Doug Hairgrove and Woody Wood will be honored as Volunteers of the Year.

  • SATURDAY, November 3

Front Runners & Walkers Run/Walk
Get outta bed early and enjoy a 10K Run, 5K Run, or 5K Walk. The course is flat, fast and furious with all participants receive a race t-shirt and goodie bag. Awards will be presented to top male and female finishers in various age categories along with raffle prizes and refreshments served after the race

Hands On:  Pride at Ace Hotel and Swim Club
Join a big, gay roster of DJs and performers as part of Ace Hotel and Swim Club’s five-day music and arts festival during pride. Hands On, which is also a benefit for the Palm Springs Pride fund to support Coachella Valley Gay-Straight Alliance organizations — $5 of each ticket supports LGBTQ high school events and programs.  Admission is $20 at the door.

Arenas Road Block Party 2012
As the sun sets things really start to heat up. Produced by Palm Springs Pride in conjunction with Business Owners of Arenas Road in Palm Springs, this street festival is a free community event for 21 years and older. Join guest Emcees for live music, guest DJs, and featured performers Hi-Fashion, AB Soto, and Cherie Lily with her special guest DJ Andrew W.K.  Street performers and drag queens will keep thousands entertained as they celebrate Pride Weekend on Arenas Road, home to a large collection of gay bars, restaurants and local businesses.

Pride Festival (two-day event, Nov 3 & 4)
A rainbow mile from downtown you will find Pride Park with the daytime activities being held at the Palm Springs Stadium. Festival highlights include: Desert Radio Group & Rainbow Pride stages, a Big Top Cabaret tent, Karaoke Tent, Country Dance and PNN-fm HiNrg Dance Tents. Featuring live entertainment and over ninety performances you will be certain to find a place to shake it. Food and beverage stations abound, so make sure to stay hydrated.

  • SUNDAY, November 4

26th Anniversary Pride Parade

The Desert Pride Center’s parade truck proudly wears its many rainbow stripes // photo courtesy Palm Springs Pride

The City of Palm Springs comes alive during the annual Pride Parade celebration. Thousands of spectators will gather along palm tree lined streets to cheer and support local organizations, activists and themed floats along historic Palm Canyon Drive. The parade is scheduled for Sunday, November 4 at 10 a.m. starting at E. Ramon Rd. and travels north on S. Palm Canyon Drive to Tachevah Dr.

This year’s Pride parade is historic, as Palm Springs Pride recognizes the 25th Anniversary of Palm Springs AIDS Walk. AIDS Walk will present a very special parade contingent that reflects on 25 years of care, prevention and advocacy. This will be the first time that an AIDS Walk and Pride Parade have walked together.

The 2012 Grand Marshal is Retired Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, the first American soldier wounded in the Iraq War. Alva is recognized as a gay civil rights activist and a national spokesman for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Community Grand Marshals will be an original member of Dykes on Bikes, American director, producer and historian Glenne McElhinney along with one of the first out gay reporters in the country Hank Plante.  Celebrity Grand Marshals will be television, radio and stage performer Joey English and fashion designer Michael Costello.

If you go
www.VisitGayPalmSprings.com
Greater Palm Springs Pride festivities (www.pspride.org)
LGBT Center Concert ticket information  (www.thecenterps.org )
Miss Broadway in Drag (For tickets, call 760-323-5123)
Pride Honors Awards (http://bit.ly/honor2012)
Front Runners & Walkers Run/Walk (http://frontrunners.clubexpress.com/)

Information in this news bulletin was provided courtesy of Palm Springs’ official visitor’s bureau.

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