Outlandish Golf Carts Delight Palm Desert

The fall roll summons the car-crafty creativity of area residents.

Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade

A VERY LOCAL PARADE: You'd have to really be a cackling villainous sort to have a hard heart about hometown parades, and we'd never dare call you a cackling villainous sort. Why? Because everyone likes them. It's just a fact. Whether it is a streamer-tangled float or the battalion of baton twirlers or the tail-waggy dogs in costume or the high school band or the local, sash-wearing dignitaries, the hometown parade is a font of funny and sweet charms. But finding what is truly distinct about a parade may take a minute of close observation. Is there a man dancing in a full-body corn outfit? Is there a whale balloon? Okay, that gives some clue as to the location. You don't need to even wait ten seconds, however, to know that the Palm Desert parade is, well, in Palm Desert. True, it is usually sunny, a big giveaway, but the parade vehicles? They're golf carts, a ride that's synonymous with the fore-forward lifestyle found in the desert resort city. But not just any golf carts, of course: They're wacky, they're outlandish, they're themed, they're re-imagined. And they'll be rolling, in elaborate and offbeat style, on Sunday, Oct. 26, which marks the treasured tradition's 50th anniversary.

A FALL FESTIVITY: The history of the parade is a colorful one -- it used to be a Christmas in July thing, complete with carved turkeys -- but call it an autumnal staple. And call the parade, which was founded by desert-loving stars like Phil Harris, one with far reach. Not only do thousands of spectators turn out, but a few special outfits typically cameo (the USC Trojan Marching Band, The Spirit of Troy shall head east for the 2014 extravaganza). You may see a plainer cart or two roll by, but count on seeing some wheels that have had days upon days of decorating work put in, so much so you may not recognize that there is a golf cart beneath. A Sweepstakes Trophy is handed out, and some cash, so residents go the dolled-up distance, with their beloved mini-autos. The place? Palm Desert's El Paseo. The time? 1 p.m. on Oct. 26. Sunscreen? Of course. A good golf swing? Not required, but if you're going to hang out in the golf'd-up destination for the weekend, chances are you'll pass a putter or two.

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