It used to be called Gay Pride, and it began as a commemoration of the June 28, 1969, Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. And originally, in New York and San Francisco in particular, the event was held in late June and was more of a march and demonstration than a parade and festival. Through the Anita Bryant and AIDS crisis years, there was a lot to demonstrate about.
Now many cities throughout the world host some version of Gay Pride; most are in late June or in the summer months. “Gay Pride” has often been truncated to “Pride” to be more inclusive of the entire LGBTQ community, and the demonstrations are more parade-like, with floats, music, dancers plus a festival featuring stages for performers and weekend-long events.
Late June would not be a good time of year for an outdoor festival in Palm Springs, so Palm Springs Pride is held the first weekend in November when the temperatures are lower and street parties can last well into the evening. Given the sizable LGBTQ population in Palm Springs and the attractiveness of the city to gay tourists, Palm Springs Pride is one of the largest annual events in town.
Palm Springs Pride in 2018 falls right on the heels of another annual gay celebration, Halloween. So, conceivably, visitors could just start the party on October 31 and stay through the weekend for Pride events.
Although not directly, but coincidentally linked to Palm Springs Pride, a markedly non-party but key event launches the weekend on Thursday, November 1: a candlelight vigil and march in honor of hate-crime victim, George Zander, a noted Palm Springs LGBTQ rights activist, who was attacked with his husband on that date in 2015 in downtown Palm Springs. (George died several weeks later, and the attackers have since pleaded guilty and been sentenced.) The vigil, starting at Grand Central Restaurant in La Plaza, serves as a tribute to Zander and a reminder that hate violence still plagues the LGBTQ community.
Friday, November 2, features many kick-off events and pool parties, including the Spirit of Stonewall Street Partythat evening along Arenas Road (between Indian Canyon and Calle Encilia) and the Dip into Pride Pool Partyat Hotel Zoso
The two-day Pride Festival begins on Saturday, November 3 in the new downtown Palm Springs park area (between Palm Canyon Drive and Museum Drive). In addition, Arenas Road features a Block Party on Saturday evening, as well. More hotels and retail spaces also hold events throughout the day.
The Parade itself is set for Sunday morning, November 4, beginning in the Uptown Design District and culminating at the Festival location downtown. The Festival continues throughout the day on Sunday.
Pride Theme for 2018
Politics has never left Pride parades. This year’s theme, Youth Power for Change, widens the focus of LGBTQ rights to include the youth movements for social change that have become particularly impactful and important in the past few years. Indeed, the collective youth of the Coachella Valley has been named as the Grand Marshall for the 2018 Pride Parade.
As Palm Springs has perhaps the country’s only fully LGBTQ city council, local political representation in the parade is a given. And since Pride is the weekend before the November elections — particularly noteworthy elections — there may even be some state and federal vote-seekers present.
For complete information on Palm Springs Pride, see https://pspride.org/. Keep checking the site, as the events list continues to grow.