Desert Arc Seeks 3-Peat Title at Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade

Barbara Sinatra will ride as grand marshal

(From left) Donnya Villarreal, Mitch Blumberg, Camarena Corrales and Pete Sandoval of Desert Arc stand in front of their parade entry.

Marcia Gawecki photos


As the 49th annual Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade approaches Oct. 27, Desert Arc employees are feeling the pressure.

Last year, they took home first prize and the Mayor’s Trophy with their replica of the Mayflower, and in 2011, they created an oversized elephant.

For this year’s “Fun Under the Sun” theme, Desert Arc has pulled out all the stops.

“We’re going for a ‘three-peat!’” exclaims Mitch Blumberg, Desert Arc’s deputy executive director.

The Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade is the largest of its kind in the world, says Katie Stice from the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’ll draw 15,000 spectators, 90 parade entries and we’ll have “Lady Blue Eyes” Barbara Sinatra as our grand marshal,” she says.

Woodie & Double-Decker Pontoon

For this year’s entry, Desert Arc will showcase a convertible “Woodie” station wagon pulling a double-decker pontoon boat with a waterslide.

“We wanted to show a nice vehicle pulling a boat headed for the river,” says Pete Sandoval, landscape manager, who heads up Desert Arc’s crew of 20 employees and clients.

Weight was a big factor in designing and creating the float. Last year, their golf cart battery died halfway through the parade, and volunteers had to push it across the finish line.

Going Green

This year’s “Fun in the Sun” colorful pontoon will be made of lightweight PVC pipes, particleboard and wood. And wherever possible, they have added recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, cans, and milk crates.

Decoration for the pontoon includes an oversized bottle of suntan lotion, an American flag, and about 20 bikini-clad mannequins, created by instructor Rose Valenzuela.

Beach Boys music will be blasting from the pontoon, and dragster engine noises from the Woodie.

“Pete thought of everything,” says Donnya Villarreal, a volunteer.

Camarena Corrales is another volunteer who will be walking alongside the float on Sunday.

“We’ll be wearing board shorts and T-shirts printed with bikinis on them,” she says. “We wanted to squirt the crowd with water guns, but I don’t think we can. So we’ll just squirt each other!”

Checking It Twice

Sandoval will test drive the float a couple of times before the event.

“Our double axle flatbed is strong enough to pull a car,” he says. “But we’re going to adjust the pitch so it rides flat.”

Since not everyone at Desert Arc can attend the parade, comptroller Kurt Parish, who will be driving the Woodie, will do a customary loop around the complex.

“I remember watching the parade as a kid, and I couldn’t wait to see some of the floats,” recalls Sandoval. “I just want the kids to say, ‘Here comes something cool!’”

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