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29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights kicks off holiday season

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Palm Canyon Drive.

After being canceled due to the pandemic, hundreds lined the streets to see this year’s spectacular floats.

“So happy. It was needed and we need the crowds and everyone was ready to have a good time. This was more crowded than years before so it was great,” said Kenny Jervis, an attendee of the parade.

Marching bands, school choirs and floats full of twinkling lights dazzled the crowds.

“We saw Santa, Santa was probably my favorite part. The marching bands, yeah the local marching bands. It’s always fun,” said Jason Morris.

Many attendees we spoke with say they already can't wait for next year's parade.

“So far, it’s been a lot of fun for a lot of people. So yeah totally try to come back next year.”

The Coachella Valley is continuing with a series of holiday events, several of which kick off this weekend.

The City of Palm Springs hosted its tree lighting event Friday evening at Frances Stevens Park on 500 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

City of Palm Springs Holiday Tree Lighting

On Saturday, The Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade will make its long-anticipated return at 5:45 in the evening.

The event will feature spectacular twinkling floats, magnificent marching bands, huge Macy's-style holiday balloons – and Santa Claus of course!

Participants of the event have been putting the finishing touches on their floats before they hit the pavement.

Todd Burke with Desert Care Network gave News Channel 3 a sneak peak at the company's float, which is decked out with candy cane tires, a Christmas tree, music and even snow.

Burke said he and the roughly 60 members of his team that will ride on the float Saturday evening "are very proud to be a part of this" event that has gone on for many years.

He added, "I think this is going to be the most well attended Festival of Lights Parade ever. We've all been needing this for a long time. It's been a tough 18 months."

Desert Care Network's Festival of Lights Parade float

The float also features a replica of the iconic tower that was originally built as part of the El Mirador Hotel in 1927. The tower was rebuilt after it burned down in 1989 again and eventually became part of what's now known as Desert Regional Medical Center.

Replica of the El Mirador Tower featured on Desert Care Network's holiday parade float

Officials with the city are warning residents to expect travel delays due to street closures on Saturday.

There will be a significant amount of traffic traveling east after the parade, especially on Ramon Rd., Dinah Shore, and E. Palm Canyon Dr.

Drivers are encouraged to consider staying in town overnight if they're traveling from elsewhere, taking Vista Chino easterly, or taking I-10 to go to cities down valley.

The parade will begin at Ramon Road and head northbound on Palm Canyon Drive to Tachevah Road. Palm Canyon Drive from Ramon Road to Sunny Dunes Road will be closed from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for pre-stage. 

Palm Canyon Drive from Ramon Road to Vista Chino Road will be closed from approximately 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for the parade route. 

For information, please call The City of Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Department at (760) 323-8276. 

Stay with News Channel 3 for updates on this weekend's holiday festivities and traffic updates.

Article Topic Follows: News
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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.

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