Gay Desert Hot Springs

Parade draws thousands to city streets to celebrate Pride, support ‘Drag now. Drag forever’ theme, honor LGBTQ+ community

Posted on November 6, 2023

More than 200 organizations and businesses marched in the parade, which stretched from Tachevah Drive to East Amado Road, terminating at the Pride Festival street fair with outdoor DJs, booths, food, and drinks.

www.thepalmspringspost.com BY KENDALL BALCHAN ● PRIDE ● NOVEMBER 5, 2023

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Parade attendees came from near and far Sunday morning, lining the streets of Downtown Palm Springs decked out in their best rainbow-colored outfits. Here, from left to right, are James Parsons, Crystal Kimmel, and Jonathan Parsons.

Thousands of attendees lined the mile-long parade route along Palm Canyon Drive for the annual Palm Springs Pride Parade on Sunday. More than 200 organizations and businesses marched in the parade, which stretched from Tachevah Drive to East Amado Road, terminating at the Pride Festival street fair with outdoor DJs, booths, food, and drinks.

The crowd consisted of locals and out-of-towners, like Art Dupont and Jerry Kuehl, who traveled from Scottsdale, Ariz. The two had just met Ali Montano and Thomas Renau, who said they live “right up the road.”

It was the locals’ second pride since moving to Palm Springs full-time last year. They compared Palm Springs Pride to their previous hometown’s pride, noting they preferred the city’s more fun and homey atmosphere..

“In San Francisco, Pride became super corporate,” Renau said. “We love the community aspect of Palm Springs.” 

Dupont and Kuehl agreed. They’ve been coming to Palm Springs Pride for years and love the feeling of community.

All four were supportive of this year’s theme, “Drag now. Drag forever.” “It’s very timely,” said Montano. The two locals said they attended April’s Drag 4 Drag rally at the Marilyn Monroe statue.

Drag performers and drag shows across the country have been under attack from right-wing protesters and lawmakers.

A giant Progress Pride flag is seen being carried down Palm Canyon Drive Sunday morning during the annual Palm Springs Pride Parade. The flag was developed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer Daniel Quasar.

Palm Springs Pride organizers honored James “Gypsy” Haake, one of the world’s oldest living drag queens, by naming him the 2023 Pride Parade Grand Marshal, alongside Trixie Mattel and Ethylina Canne as Celebrity and Community Grand Marshals, respectively.

The Brothers of Desert, recipients of the Spirit of Stonewall Organization of the Year, also marched in the parade. The nonprofit supports Black gay men in the Coachella Valley.

Attendees enjoyed local organizations cruising along the parade route in various modes of transportation: classic cars, luxury cars, motorcycles, golf carts, stilts, and high heels as high as stilts. The high school marching bands were a huge hit, playing pop medleys featuring Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

Members of Palm Springs High School’s Gay Straight Alliance get ready to march in the parade Sunday morning.

Most other pride parades are in June to recognize the 1969 Stonewall uprising, but Palm Springs holds their parade in November when temperatures are in the 80s instead of the triple digits. However, some were fooled by the cool morning and had to start peeling off layers as temperatures climbed toward the 90s.

Those who arrived early Sunday morning were able to set up shop on the shady side of the street with umbrellas, coolers, and all the creature comforts they needed.

The crowd was all smiles and filled with people of all ages, including babies in strollers waving rainbow flags with chubby fists and older folks in camping chairs on the curb. Gaggles of families with kids waving rainbow flags in their chubby fists and older folks joining in from the curb, proving that Pride is for everyone.

Author

KENDALL BALCHAN

Kendall was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and brings deep local knowledge and context to every story. Before joining The Post she spent three years as a producer and investigative reporter at NBC Palm Springs. She attended both College of the Desert and the University of Oregon.