Hot Picks for January 2012

Treat Yourself to Villagefest Every Thursday, from 6 to 10 p.m., downtown Palm Springs transforms into one of the desert’s most popular events.

Photo by Gregg Felsen

Greet a Giraffe Calf!
New life breathes at The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden (47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert). In late October, a female giraffe calf standing almost six feet tall weighed in at a healthy 111 pounds. With this birth, the giraffe population at The Living Desert consists of five; two males and three females.

According to Liz Hile, curator of animals at The Living Desert, both calf and mother are doing well and are on exhibit. “We always get excited when animals are born here,” Hile says. “But when the baby happens to be a giraffe, it can’t help but bring a smile to your face. They are beautiful, magnificent creatures.”
Visit or call 1-760-346-5694 for more information.

Capture the Concours Spirit
Watch classic car races. Meet some of the world’s best drivers and auto personalities. View hundreds of rare vehicles fully restored. Enjoy music, wine, vendors, receptions, and parties. Celebrate the motorsports lifestyle at the Rancho Mirage Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance, Feb. 16-25 at Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa (71333 Dinah Shore Dr., Rancho Mirage). Auto Trend magazine ranked this event the third most important Concours d’Elegance in the country.

Founders Paul and Holly Merrigan combine an interest in classic cars with profound community spirit, creating a world-class concours that builds on the Coachella Valley’s automotive traditions while raising money for charity and bringing people and dollars to the desert. Enjoy ambiance, excitement, and hundreds of distinctive automobiles.  Visit or call 1-760-766-1777 for more information.

Pony Up! Polo season explodes at Empire
Catch the world’s oldest team sport at Empire Polo Club in Indio (home of Coachella Music & Arts and Stagecoach festivals). Opening day (Jan. 8) features polo matches at 12 and 2 p.m., with a halftime champagne divot stomp during the afternoon match.

Season highlights include Polo & Wine Festival (Jan. 29), U.S. Gay Polo Tournament (Feb. 19),  Debii Dollar Conant Memorial Women’s Tournament (March 4), Women’s Arena Finals (March 31), and Lions’ Cup and Champions’ Cup Finals  (April 1). Sunday and Friday night matches run weekly during season. General admission is free and includes bleacher seats and fieldside tailgate spots on the east side of the field.

Tables are available for groups with a reservation. Cabanas and VIP seats are available for an additional charge. Established in 1987, Empire Polo Club features nine polo fields and an indoor arena and polo school. Call 1-760-393-7298 or visit for more information.

Treat Yourself to Villagefest
Every Thursday, from 6 to 10 p.m., downtown Palm Springs transforms into one of the desert’s most popular events. A diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, and purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, jewelry, sweets, and more replace traffic along Palm Canyon Drive between Baristo and Amado roads. Enjoy fabulous restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues along one of Southern California’s favorite boulevards. 1-760-320-3781;

Southwestward Ho!
Jan. 27-29

The Southwest Arts Festival presents more than 250 artists offering traditional and contemporary works of art. This cultural event, held at Empire Polo Club, is the Indio Chamber of Commerce’s largest annual fundraiser. Over the last quarter of a century, the festival built a reputation for quality and integrity.

Robert Ferguson is this year’s poster artist, offering an oil-on-canvas plein air painting of the Anderson Date Farm. “To have a poster that showcases a picturesque longtime area landmark is perfect as the festival celebrates its 26th year in Indio,” says Joyce Donaldson, Indio Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 1-760-347-0676 or visit for more information.


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