By Crystal Harrell

The 35th annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival is back in full swing since the pandemic, celebrating love, freedom, and the strength of the LGBTQ community. This multi-day pride celebration takes place from November 1st through the 7th with free admission.

Palm Canyon Drive will be home to a friendly Pride Festival unique to Southern California, where attendees can enjoy beverages and food with friends while exploring local Coachella Valley artists, entertainers, beverage stations, and purveyors of a variety of items like jewelry, snacks, and sweets.

Palm Springs Pride will also feature a Children’s Headquarters (CHQ) space for games and crafts, the Youth Zone by Safe Schools Desert Cities, and HIV/AIDS testing by Get Tested Coachella Valley. Over 200 exhibitors, non-profit organizations, food, and beverage vendors will be on hand.

Festivities begin with the Desert’s LGBTQ+ History Exhibit at Welwood Murray Memorial Library from November 4-7. Guests can immerse themselves in local LGBTQ+ history via this timeline of important events within the queer community beginning in the early 20th century and ending in 2020. This exhibit was created by a new organization, LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert, which is comprised of 10 panels that explain how the Greater Palm Springs area became a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community.

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The Coming Out Celebration: ‘A Night Of Stars’ will take place November 5 from 5-10 p.m. on the Effen Vodka Main Stage. This is a mix of performances by local stars, hosted by actor and comedian Jason Stuart and local drag personality Bella da Ball. The event features appearances by Grammy-award-winner Jody Watley, club diva Jeanie Tracy, International Queen of Dance Shannon and Los Angeles DJ duo The Perry Twins. This celebration is free, but a $45 VIP pre-event cocktail reception is also available.

The Palm Springs Art Museum is celebrating Pride this year with an event called “Pri Pri” hosted by prominent drag idol Charlene featuring DJs Papi Juice, Brown Skin Hazel and Brontez Purnell and performances by pop and R&B vocalist Saturn Risin9 and Charli XCX protégé Slayyyter. Multidisciplinary artist Rafa Esparza will also do a performance art work. It will take place on November 5 at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

A Global Rainbow Art Installation on Palm Canyon Drive will take place on November 5 and 6. Artist Yvette Mattern will present a laser light sculpture over two consecutive nights celebrating themes such as diverse communities, hope and peace representing the seven colors of a rainbow.

The Palm Springs Pride 5K Run and Walk will take place on November 6 from 8 to 10 a.m. Guests can take a run or walk on a course of paved streets through the neighborhood that was home to many celebrities such as Liberace, George Randolph Hearst, Kirk Douglas, Lily Tomlin and more. Proceeds will be donated to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert and The Transgender Health and Wellness Center.

This year’s Pride Parade will take place on November 7. The parade starts in the Uptown Design District at Tachevah and Palm Canyon Drive and travels south through downtown, ending at the entrance to the Pride Festival at Amado. Gather under the Coachella Valley sunshine to cheer and support local organizations, activists and of course, fabulous floats.

Also on Sunday, November 7, the Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge will host its Pride Bar. Eight4Nine has been offering a bottomless champagne and mimosa breakfast on Pride Parade Sunday for four years. Enjoy the Pride Brunch while helping your local Pride organization. EIGHT4NINE will donate 25% of the sales from the brunch to Greater Palm Springs Pride to help keep Pride free and accessible for everyone.

Pride Festival 2021 is a must-see as well this month on November 6 and 7 on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado and Tahquitz and on the streets around the new downtown park on Museum Way. Performances by Third Eye Blind, Jody Watley, A Flock of Seagulls, The Robyn Party, Shannon and Jeanie Tracy. Snack or grab a drink, then shop the more than 200 exhibitors, non-profit organizations and vendors on hand. This event also will feature HIV/AIDS testing by Get Tested Coachella Valley.