Cathedral City sets the stage for one of its signature events signaling it’s ready to open for business

CATHEDRAL CITY —  After a year of postponed and cancelled events due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cathedral City is preparing to open for business by inking contracts for one of its signature events — the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The City Council is also planning for the City’s 40th Anniversary. The city of Cathedral City incorporated on Nov. 16, 1981 and this year it will celebrate its 40th Anniversary as a “vibrant” city — and the second-largest — in the Coachella Valley.

The City Council is scheduled to address both events when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 via Zoom.

First up is the Hot Air Balloon Festival. The City Council will consider approving a two-year contract for services for the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival, Food Truck Fiesta with Fantasy Balloon Flights. The contract provides $110,000 for 2021, and $115,000 for 2022.

The popular event is intended to showcase hot air balloon activities and host a food truck event through flights, rides, music, food, spirits, culture and cuisine. The festival will be held on November 19, 2021 through November 21, 2021 at the City’s Downtown Arts & Entertainment District, namely the Cathedral City Community Amphitheater located at 68526 Avenida Lalo Guerrero.

Steve and Cindy Wilkinson of Fantasy Balloon Flights, which is based in the Coachella Valley,  have been a partner with the City since the inception of the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival and Food Truck Fiesta seven years ago.

“This family-centered event has garnered the most attendance of any of our City events and during these past few years has become the City’s best event for drawing visitors from outside of the Coachella Valley, filling our hotels,” Chris Parman, communications/events manager states in his staff report.

Since the Wilkinson due have taken over the hot air balloon festival, the event has grown in attendance and activities with
new features like the Food Truck Fiesta, the Banana Balloon Candy Drop for Kids, improvements to the music on the main stage, the addition of special shaped balloons, and enhanced partnerships with major sponsors, according to Parman.

In order to create an anniversary celebration for the greater community, a committee, titled the Cathedral City 40th Anniversary Planning Committee, will soon be formed to determine logo design, activities, entertainment, and other festivities that honors the city’s past accomplishments and its focus on a brighter future. The City Council will appoint up to two members to serve on the committee which will meet once a month starting in April, and possibly weekly as the incorporation anniversary date nears.

The City Council isn’t stopping there to signal it’s open for business.

In February, the consensus of the City Council was to support the following events for 2021-2022, as long as
permitted by the Riverside County Health Department based on the tier the County is in at that time:

  • Cinema Diverse – $1,500.00
  • Cathedral City GBA – Cat City Drag Race – $0
  • Cathedral City High School Homecoming Parade – $5,000.00 in kind
  • Halloween Spooktacular – $3,589.29
  • East Palm Canyon Banner Program – $14,288.00
  • Palm Springs Pride Parade – $2,000.00
  • Healing Field – $2,500.00
  • 40th Anniversary of Cathedral City – $26,250.00
  • Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival – $110.000.00
  • North Pole Village and Tree Lighting – $15,000.00
  • Palm Springs International Film Festival – $50,000.00
  • Taste of Jalisco – $55,000.00
  • Tejano Music Fest – $35,765.28
  • Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic – $0
  • State of the City – $0
  • Cathedral City LGBT Days – $55,000.00
  • Coachella Valley Battle of the Desert5 – $0
  • Harvey Milk Breakfast – $1,000.00
  • Palm Springs Restaurant Week – $2,000.00

Yes, all indications are that Cathedral City is ready to open for business.


Image Sources

  • Balloon launch: Discover Cathedral City