11/06/2014 09:43 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival Moves Downtown This Weekend


Palm Springs is already huge on the global gaydar screen, but in this journalist's opinion, it's reputation as one of the best cities for LGBTQ residents and tourists alike is about to go through the stratosphere as a dramatic change comes to the Greater Palm Springs Pride celebration.

What's happening? Well, those familiar to the festival know that while the parade has historically gone through the heart of downtown, the two-day festival has been more than walking distance away with an admission price of up to $15. This year, however, the entire festival moves downtown and will be entirely free (although donations will be accepted and encouraged to help offset such a major change).

As revealed in a story I wrote for the current issue of GED Magazine:

"I'm really excited about how our two-day festival on Nov 8 and 9 and the kick off concert on Nov 7 will enjoy significantly greater visibility as the Pride celebration moves out from behind the walls at Sunrise Stadium to world famous Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs," explains Ron deHarte, President of Greater Palm Springs Pride. "The stadium has been a wonderful home but a gay mecca like Palm Springs deserves a Pride celebration that's highly visible and in the heart of the city."

He explains, "Through the years, the Pride Parade which circled Demuth Park in the early-90s has enjoyed high levels of awareness as it traveled through the heart of the city of Palm Springs. City leaders were ahead of the curve when they included the Pride Parade when the first community-based Veterans Day and Festival of Lights Parades were created. This year, the Festival will enjoy the same visibility the Parade has enjoyed for many years in the heart of downtown Palm Springs."

Giving credit where credit is due, deHarte elaborated, "Huge kudos to the City Council, police, fire, traffic and events departments who have really made the move downtown possible. Mayor Steve Pougnet saw our vision from the very start and he's been a great source of encouragement. When we first started the conversation in 2011 about moving the festival downtown the Main Street Palm Springs business association was very supportive. I think they were our first cheerleaders! The Pride Festival and Parade are really significant events."

In the months leading up to this year's festival, deHarte was a special guest on the Nicholas Snow Live radio show on which he spoke in more detail about the historic changes coming to the festival, and also gave a detailed rundown of the recipients of its 2014 Pride Honors Awards presented annually to individuals in order to recognize the work they have put into raising awareness and furthering the causes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies.

An LGBT civil rights attorney, pioneering businesswoman and first openly transgender trial judge in the United States top the slate of activists and community leaders. Palm Springs Pride has been a tireless advocate for equality and diversity for twenty-eight years. "I'm Pride. Stonewall 45" is this year's Pride celebration theme.

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