Big band music and dancing in the street await at Swing ‘N Hops Street Party, a free festival held on El Paseo on Saturday, February 8 from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Now in its fifth year, Swing ‘N Hops offers folks the chance to travel back to a time when swing was king, rock music rolled, and everybody got up and danced. A one-block section of El Paseo, Palm Desert’s popular shopping, dining and art destination, will be closed between San Pablo Avenue and Larkspur Lane to accommodate a giant checkerboard dance floor and bandstand.

The Swing Cats Big Band, famous for their Disney performances as well as setting the musical stage for Palm Desert’s Independence Day Celebrations for the last several years, will provide the live music. To make sure that everyone gets up and boogies, the band will play danceable tunes from the 1940s to today. The band will play with minimal breaks, ensuring a nearly non-stop soundtrack for the five-hour duration of the event.

While dancers won’t want to miss a beat, all that activity can make one hungry. Food will be available for purchase from vendors including JoJo’s Grill-a-Dog, The Big Easy Sandwich, Crabby’s Crab Cakes and Seafood Delights and Las Carretas Taco Shop. Sweet treats will be provided by Cruising Cones, St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Palm Desert, and the La Quinta High School Culinary Arts Institute. If you’re feeling thirsty, a full bar will be available as well.

Swing ‘N Hops is a family-friendly event, and partygoers of all ages will enjoy playing the games of days gone by, including a giant Twister game, chess and an outdoor bowling alley. A crafts station will engage and entertain young and old alike, as well.

“We really want to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a fun day with free entertainment on El Paseo,” says Vanessa Mager, Management Analyst and event coordinator for the City of Palm Desert. “Families with children will find lots to do, and I really believe music fans and dancers will be delighted with the range of tunes being played by the very popular Swing Cats Big Band.”

Another highlight of the event is the display of vintage cars that really helps make the era come alive. Swing ‘N Hops attendees are encouraged to revive the glamour of times past by wearing fun, vintage fashions representative of the 1940s through the 1960s.

Event Sponsors to date include Presenting Sponsor City of Palm Desert, The Gardens on El Paseo, Liquid Catering, Bright Party Rentals, FG Creative, and Leeds and Son Fine Jewelers.

Swing N’ Hops Street Party is a featured event of First Weekend, the city’s monthly art and culture program taking place every first weekend of the month, November through May. Upcoming First Weekend events include the Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival at Palm Desert Civic Center Park on March 7, and Palm Desert Brew at the Zoo at The Living Desert on April 4.

For more information about Swing ‘N Hops Street Party or First Weekend please visit www.PDFirstWeekend.com.

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