August 27, 2020 at 2:11 am PDT | by John Paul King
Palm Springs plans to keep Pride alive in 2020

Ron DeHarte, president of Palm Springs Pride (Photo courtesy DeHarte)

As our coronavirus woes continue onward into the waning months of 2020, with still no certain end in sight, the idea of having a chance to celebrate Pride at all this year – as we know it, anyway – seems more and more like a lost cause.

While it’s been inspiring to see the efforts made by Pride organizations across the nation and the world to take the party to the virtual world, nobody can deny that the opportunity to have at least one real-life, in-person party before the year runs out would feel like a victory. With summer running out, however, and with it the timeframe for most traditional Pride celebrations, it’s become clear that is no longer a reasonable possibility.

Still, there’s still reason to hang on – with managed expectations, of course – to a thread of hope.
For the past five months, the Palm Springs Pride organization has been exploring its options for how to proceed – if at all – with its own Pride festival, which happens annually in November, thanks to the sweltering heat of the desert summer.

Now, after carefully assessing its opportunities for bringing the city’s residents, leisure travelers, and business partners a reimagined, safe, socially distanced Pride Week celebration, Ron deHarte, president and CEO of Greater Palm Springs Pride, tells the Blade the organization is moving forward.
“Supporting our community will come in various platforms this year and we are excited to give supporters of Palm Springs Pride multiple virtual, safe, and socially distanced ways to be involved,” de Harte tells the Blade.

He also is quick to remind everyone that this is still a re-imagined experience, designed to be compatible with life in the Age of Covid.

“During COVID-19, the county, state, and city do not allow any large parties, live entertainment, or for tens of thousands of people to gather for a parade,” deHarte says.

“Even if it was permitted,” he adds, “during this time of crisis who really wants to take a risk and go to a large-scale event or gathering?

What all that means to us is that we still have one more Pride to look forward to, and one more chance to get at least a taste of the kind of community event we have been largely denied in 2020 – even if we will still only be able to enjoy it from afar.

The Palm Springs Pride website has posted a list of planned events for its scheduled dates of November 6-8, 2020). Though it’s preceded by a statement that reasserts deHarte’s stress on working within public health guidelines, it also points out:
“We are watching for updates to state, county and city guidelines and expect to post our list of Pride Week Programs toward the end of August 2020. Of course we know you will understand parties and large gatherings just cannot occur during this health crisis.”

This might be an indication that further plans might still be in the works. In the meantime, the already-listed events reveal some “out-of-the-box” alternatives in the mix that shift the celebration, at least a tiny bit, tentatively back into the real world.

Here’s the line-up announced so far for the free virtual experience:
Friday, Nov. 6:
Flag Raising
Interfaith Pride Kabbalat Shabbat (online) – 6:30 pm
Drive-in Movie Night Nov 6 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center
Light Up The Night – Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community

Saturday, Nov. 7 – Pride Car Caravan (free to participate)
10am – Noon, Pride Caravan (no street closures, no floats, no walking only passenger cars following posted traffic laws). Details Coming Soon
Front Runners Pride 5K run and walk (check website for details)
Retail Sales Events – we invite sales promotions with Main Street, Uptown, and Arenas Rd.
Watch online via YouTube and Facebook (details to come)
Drive-in Movie Night at the Palm Springs Cultural Center
Light Up The Night – Go Rainbow citywide effort to encourage displaying pink lights and rainbow theme decorations to show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community

Sunday, Nov. 8:
Pride KGAY T-Dance (free online event)
Note that details about the Car Caravan – in effect, the reimagined festivals equivalent of a parade – are still forthcoming. It’s likely those details will involve opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses to register for participation; it’s also likely that those opportunities will be snatched up fast, so keep checking the Pride website in order to jump on yours quickly.

Also a probable hot ticket is the Drive-in Movie Night (the film to be screened is yet to be announced), another indicator that this old-fashioned all-American outing from our past might be part of the path forward out of the isolation of social distancing; it’s heartening to see this emphasis on progress in the face of obstacles reflected in the plans for the festival, which also includes a plan to “light up the city” with pink and rainbow lights – helping in yet another way to move Pride back into the outside world, at least in spirit, where it has always belonged and where it will surely be able to be again,
As more details emerge about the announced events, along with any additional announcements that come along in the days and weeks ahead, the Blade will keep you updated.

For more information about the Greater Palm Springs Pride organization itself, and how you can become involved as a donor or a sponsor, visit them at pspride.org.

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