Celebrate Palm Springs’ 85th anniversary with parade, music, cars, more

 PALM SPRINGS — This international tourist destination is turning 85-years-old – and it’s never looked better. The public is welcome to celebrate the city’s legendary past and bright future at a free, fun-filled 85th anniversary party on Saturday, April 8.

The celebration kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with a spectacular classic car parade called “Cruising Through the Years” that takes off along Amado Road from the Palm Springs Convention Center to the Downtown Park, featuring a host of local celebrities, community leaders, and city pioneers riding in 85 classic vehicles from 1938 when the city was first incorporated — to the present day.

Some of the parade participants include football legend and Palm Springs resident Fred “The Hammer” Williamson; Super Model and local resident Beverly Johnson, the first African American woman to appear on the cover of American Vogue; Charlie Pasarell, founder of the BNP Paribas Open; Tim Esser, founder of Tour de Palm Springs; globally renowned Palm Springs artist Phillip K. Smith; local resident Nelda Linsk, immortalized in the famed 1970 Slim Aarons photograph “Poolside Gossip;” acclaimed local architect Hugh Kaptur; Evernell Black, the City’s 86-year-old Senior Inspiration honoree; several former Palm Springs mayors including Ron Oden, Rob Moon and Will Kleindienst.

Free bleachers will be set up near Jackie Lee Houston Plaza for residents to view the parade on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Following the parade, the vintage cars will be displayed around the Forever Marilyn sculpture for all to enjoy. Everyone is welcome to get a selfie in front of the car from the year you were born.

“Our 85th Anniversary Classic Car Parade & Show is sure to go down in the history books!” Keith McCormick, founder of Palm Springs Exotic Car Auctions, said in a statement.

“No other city that I know of has ever had 85 cars representing 85 years all in one place,” said McCormick, who added that the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to record this historic happening in Palm Springs.

Following is a listing of the events planned for the 85th Anniversary Celebration:

12:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony in the Downtown Park. Following the parade, Dave Karger, host of Turner Classic Movies, will emcee a brief opening ceremony at Forever Marilyn with Mayor Grace Garner, members of the City Council, and community leaders.

  • Throughout the day residents are welcome to check out a curated exhibit of historic photos chronicling Palm Springs through the years, presented by the Palm Springs Historical Society and Palm Springs Life.
  • Palm Springs Parks and Recreation will be on hand in the park offering free and fun activities for youngsters, including face-painting, arts and crafts, interactive games, and much more.
  • The Palm Springs Art Museum, who is also celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, will host family activities in front of the museum, including color sheet drawings of the museum created by local artist Danny Heller. Families who present their completed color drawings will receive discounted museum admission for $8.50. Once inside, families will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition Phillip K. Smith: Light + CHANGE with a guided activity book and then go on a scavenger hunt to learn about the permanent collection.

1 p.m. Car Show and DJ set by Joe Kay. Kay, the founder of Soulection, a globally recognized platform for music is the host of the critically acclaimed Soulection Radio show on Apple Music and will curate a special DJ set for the 85th Anniversary Car Show & Dance Party, featuring Souldies, Lovers Rock, Reggae and more. A go-to worldwide musical tastemaker, Joe Kay has received praise from the BBC, Billboard, Forbes, LA Times, Low End Theory, Red Bull Music Academy, Rolling Stone and more.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Joe Kay to 85th Anniversary,” Palm Springs native Tyler McLean, founder of Splash House, said in a statement. “Joe is a pioneer in the world of music curating the sounds of tomorrow. His love for the desert and soulful musical taste will make for a perfect complement in our celebration of Palm Springs.”

6 p.m. Canine Celebrity Costume Contest. Bring your pup to the Downtown Park. Residents are encouraged to dress their pooch as their favorite Palm Springs celebrity for a star-studded Canine Costume Contest, presented by the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Is your pup a dead ringer for Liberace, Elvis Presley, Sonny Bono, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball or Bella daBall? Let the judges decide and win a prize.

 7 p.m. FINALE: Elton John Tribute Concert in the Downtown Park. The birthday bash concludes with a rockin’ Elton John Tribute Concert, presented by the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. The Rocket Man will play all his greatest hits!

“Over the past 85 years, Palm Springs has become world famous for our year-round sunshine, relaxed desert lifestyle and incredible history,” Mayor Grace Garner, a local native and graduate of Palm Springs High School, said in a statement. “I invite everyone in the Coachella Valley to join us downtown on April 8 as we cruise through the years celebrating 85 years of the magic that makes Palm Springs like no place else.”

For more information, visit www.PalmSprings85.com





Image Sources

  • 85th birthday: Shutterstock