VIDEO: Watch Mike Hardin recount the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade's history and his company's involvement. (Historical photos courtesy of Palm Desert Historical Society).
In past years, he’s driven an oversized safe with a rotary dial and a biplane with a wing walker made out of paper mâché and chicken wire.
“You could only see a little bit through the peep hole,” says Mike Hardin, owner of The Lock Shop in Palm Desert. “But we weren’t going very fast and there were spotters on the sides.”
Sunday (Oct. 26) marks the 50th anniversary of the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade, and the City of Palm Desert, the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsors are pulling out all the stops.
With the theme “Palm Desert on Parade Through the Decades,” from the 1960s to today, the event will showcase how the parade and the city of Palm Desert have grown over the past 50 years.
Palm Desert historical society
The early versions of the parade involved friends just getting together for fun.
There will be 110 decorated golf carts from local businesses, schools and civic organizations along with the USC Marching Band (about 75 of them). The all-day event kicks off with a Rotary pancake breakfast, and features a kid’s zone with clowns and bounce houses, food and golf vendors, and VIP seating in the shade for seniors. The parade starts at 1 p.m. down El Paseo.
“This is really a family-oriented event,” says Hardin, who has served as parade chairman for the past four years.
“But I’m not going to kid you, it’s a great way to advertise your business,” says Hardin, whose family-owned The Lock Shop has participated in the parade for 35 years. “You’ve got signs on the float and the next day, we always get calls.”
Hardin says that plenty has changed in the parade over the half century.
“It all started when a few fun-loving businessmen would decorate their golf carts and drive around the frontage roads to entertain each other,” he says. “It wasn’t a regular thing, and they would skip a few years, but when it started growing in popularity, it became a sanctioned event in 1964.”
Proceeds from golf cart entry fees go to the parade’s operating expenses, according to Katie Stice, vice president of member services, development and social media for the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce.
Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade, 1 p.m. Oct. 26 down El Paseo, www.golfcartparade.com