By Frances Allen
Oktoberfest in Palm Springs
You may not have noticed, but the Coachella Valley is rapidly becoming the festival capitol of the world. There is the granddaddy of then all, the Palm Springs International Film festival, and its several smaller, more genre-focused spawn. Then there are the separate art festivals in Indio, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta; the date, tamale and chili festivals in Indio; and various other smaller events, none of them having to do with golf; and, if this isn’t enough, there are reports that the City of Indio is considering hosting three new festivals next year: a Cinco de Mayo festival, a 4th of July festival and a Latino music and arts festival.
So it should come as no surprise that Palm Springs is having a festival to celebrate the month of October.
Generally known as Oktoberfest, the event began in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildurghausen. The celebrations lasted for about a week, (or until the beer kegs went dry), and concluded with a horse race.
The festival and the dates on which it is held have changed over the years, but one tradition has stayed true: the last weekend of Oktoberfest always fell on a date in October.
In keeping with tradition, Palm Springs’ Oktoberfest has been announced from noon to 6 p.m. on October 13, and will feature a European-style festival showcasing more than 40 food, wine and beer tasting booths. There will also be live entertainment on two stages featuring music ranging from polka to jazz to contemporary rock. The only Oktoberfest of its type in the Inland Empire, vendors and entertainers will wear Lederhosen and traditional Bavarian costumes to complete the festive atmosphere.
The festival will be held in the center of Palm Springs, at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way in the park adjacent to the spectacular 26-foot tall “Forever Marilyn” sculpture.
Like most any event in the Desert, proceeds go to local non-profit organizations. This first annual Oktoberfest will benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Les Dames d’Escoffier (a provider of scholarships for female chefs) and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.
This is a ticketed event and more information is available at (760) 320-5272.
SOS RIDES TO THE AIRPORT NEED HELP
Local taxi drivers hated this organization, – some still do – for understandable, if not wholly patriotic, reasons; but, SOS prevailed.
SOS (Soldiers Organized Services) is a nonprofit organization that provides free transportation to active-duty military personnel. Their most traveled route: the 80-mile-plus, two-hour, one-way trip between the Palm Springs International Airport and the sprawling U.S. Marine Base located in Twentynine Palms, CA.
As with most nonprofits, someone saw a need and then did something about it. In the case of SOS, that someone was Erica Stone. She was at the airport one night in 2007 and spotted a Marine who was stranded at the airport after the last bus back to base had left. Rather than leave him dissolute at the airport, Stone gave him a ride back to Twentynine Palms.
And thus a beautiful relationship was begun with the troops at Twentynine Palms, a relationship that now transports between five and 15 service personnel a day between the base and airport, benefiting service members who can’t afford an expensive taxi ride or whose schedules do not match those of the bus.
SOS has just celebrated giving a ride to its 30,000 passenger. That’s a lot of happy service personnel and their families.
But, as can be imagined, funds are difficult to find and urgently needed, as is the pool of volunteer drivers whose numbers have dwindled from 150 to about 50.
More information about becoming a volunteer driver and/or providing financial supporter of Soldiers Organized Services is available at (760) 799-5488.
It has become broadly recognized throughout the world that the Palm Springs International Film Festive black-tie awards gala ranks right behind the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes in prestige, glamour and A-list celebrity attendance. And that’s the problem, being in third place means you have to defer to those ranked above you.
Thus, to avoid any conflict with the Golden Globes, the Palm Springs Film Festival has shifted the date of its awards gala to Jan. 5 – two days earlier than last year – in order not to cause appearance conflicts for presenters and honorees attending the Golden Globes, which will take place on Jan. 13th.
Individual announcements of the Palm Springs festival’s star-studded lineup of honorees and presenters should begin this November, and will last all the way until January. These announcements are also remarkable in the number of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominees who first appeared on the Palm Springs’ list.
Now, with the date of the Palm Springs gala set, tickets and passes to special events are now on sale at www.psfilmfest.org.