44 Things To Do In October in the Coachella Valley
44 Things to Do in October
The Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade continues to be a desert institution, while Modernism Week Fall Preview immerses you in everything midcentury.
** Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade / Oct. 27
It might look simple, but rolling a fleet of golf carts down El Paseo isn’t easy. “It’s kind of like the duck on the water,” Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade co-chairman Mike Hardin explains, “where you paddle underneath and it looks real smooth on top.” He and about 15 fellow committee members spend up to 10 months planning and executing the ever-growing event, which includes children’s activities, food trucks, and a classic car show. However, everyone is there for the main affair: delightfully decorated golf-cart floats.
The parade has been a Palm Desert institution for 55 years, beginning when residents at the Shadow Mountain Club decided to doll up their golf carts. The event now draws more than 15,000 attendees. “Seeing it all come together in a safe manner after months of working on it,” he says, “that’s why I’ve been coming back every year.” Hardin’s favorite float? A massive pirate ship made by the nonprofit group Desert Arc shivered his timbers in 2012. “It was 30 feet long,” recalls Hardin, who’s served on the parade committee for 20 years. “It was impressive.”
The parade dates back to 1955.
palm desert parade
More than 15,000 people attend the parade each year
Now in its 18th year, the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council’s popular program allows art connoisseurs and collectors to explore more than 100 private studios throughout the Morongo Basin. At each stop on your self-guided tour, you’ll have the chance to chat with artists and purchase their works. hwy62arttours.org
** Highway 62 art tour
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY HIGHWAY 62 OPEN STUDIO ART TOURS
Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tour marks its 18th year
** Business Expo & Taste of Palm Springs / Oct. 15
More than 30 Coachella Valley restaurants present tantalizing tastes at the picturesque Colony 29 in Palm Springs. Pair your samples and snacks with wine, beer, and cocktails while you browse the booths of 100-plus local businesses.
** Modernism Week Fall Preview / Oct. 17–20
Mad for mod? Warm up for February’s main event with four days of tours and talks. Our can’t-miss picks from the schedule: a double-decker bus tour with author Charles Phoenix and the Cul-de-Sac Experience, an immersive jaunt through the era of Motown and mop-top haircuts.
** The Palm Springs Modernism Week Show & Sale features a treasure trove of 20th century furniture and art.
** Dirtwire / Oct. 18
Virtuoso trio Dirtwire self-identify as “an Americana, bluegrass, blues, electronica, folk, world group from Oakland.” In short, they’re eclectic, and half the fun of their live shows (including one at Pappy & Harriet’s this month) is the opportunity to experience the use of unconventional instruments like jaw harps, kalimbas, and more. pappyandharriets.com
** REO Speedwagon / Oct. 18
REO Speedwagon’s first gig following their formation at the University of Illinois in 1967 was a frat party-turned-food fight. Their latest show at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage will be jam-packed with hits like “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” — though hopefully free of flying spaghetti. aguacalientecasinos.com
** Palm Springs Modernism Week Show & Sale / Oct. 18–20
Expand your collection (or give your home a full modernist makeover) with finds from this treasure trove of 20th-century furniture and art. Explore antique offerings from the show’s 40 dealers at the Palm Springs Convention Center. fall.palmspringsmodernism.com
** Olive Festival / Oct. 18–20, 26–27
Highland Springs Ranch & Inn in Cherry Valley (less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs) transforms the bounty of more than 750 olive trees into artisan olive oils and other culinary delights. Taste infused oils at this fest, which also features workshops like olive crown–making.
** Los Tucanes De Tijuana / Oct. 19
This Baja California–born norteño band worked their way up from playing nightclubs to filling Dodger stadium — and nabbing 12 Grammy nominations. Hear favorites like “Mundo de Amor” at Spotlight 29. spotlight29.com
** Art, Health, Wellness Fair / Oct. 19
Spend a day engaging in self-care at this free-admission fair at Palm Desert Country Club, where muralists, a mini farmers market, a reiki master, and more provide feasts for the eyes, stomach, and soul. fb.com/sunshinedeserthomes
** Margaret Cho / Oct. 19
The Korean-American humorist burst onto the stand-up scene in the early 1990s after winning a competition to open for Jerry Seinfeld. She’s since become internationally known for sold-out tours, a one-woman Broadway production, and LGBTQ activism. The unfiltered comedian appears at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs.
** Joe Bonamassa / Oct. 23
This Grammy-nominated blues-rock guitarist kicked off his career at the age of 12 by opening for blues legend B.B. King. The independent-label¬ owner and vintage-guitar collector brings his rock chops to Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage. aguacalientecasinos.com
** The Addams Family / Oct. 24–27
College of the Desert Performing Arts presents this comical take on a familiar tale: teenage daughter brings home a boy who doesn’t quite fit in with the family. The catch? The young man is most parents’ dream — but his girlfriend is the inimitable Wednesday Addams. See how Gomez, Morticia, and the rest of the Addams gang react to the star-crossed new couple at the McCallum. mcccallumtheatre.com
** Jade Bird & Flyte / Oct. 25
The melancholy melodies of alt-pop group Flyte provide the perfect opener for a performance by self-taught, Alanis Morissette–inspired musician Jade Bird at Pappy & Harriet’s. pappyandharriets.com
** J Balvin / Oct. 25
This reggaeton singer was the first Latino artist to perform on the main stage at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He makes another Coachella Valley appearance at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage. aguacalientecasinos.com
** Engelbert Humperdinck / Oct. 25
This English pop legend beat out The Beatles for the top spot on the U.K. charts in 1967, but before that, it took a pub contest to convince a young Humperdinck to pursue singing. See him live at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon. morongocasinoresort.com
** Coco Peru / Oct. 26
LGBTQ performance series Outlandish Palm Springs brings Trick star Coco Peru to the Camelot Theatre for a night of riveting stories and songs from the legendary red-wigged drag performer. outlandishps.com
** Palm Springs Triathlon / Oct. 26
Triathlon-like races have existed since 1901, though the earliest, in France, kept competitors above the water in canoes. This event at Lake Cahuilla Park in La Quinta stays standard with running, biking, and swimming and four different levels to accommodate athletes of all stripes. hitsendurance.com/event/palm-springs-ca
** East Coachella Valley Pride / Oct. 26
Greater Palm Springs’ Pride season (which was switched from summer to fall in 1995 due to scorching desert temps) kicks off in the East Valley with live music and more at Coachella’s Veterans Park. fb.com/ecvpride
** Campfire Cuisine / Oct. 26–27
Chef Tanya Petrovna teaches attendees techniques for elevating fireside snacks beyond soggy sandwiches and half-cooked hot dogs. Recipes include open-range pizzas and ash-baked potatoes. Each day begins with a guided hike out of Joshua Tree Visitor Center to ensure you work up an appetite. joshuatree.org
** Reel Women’s Film Festival / Oct. 27
Planned Parenthood’s Coachella Valley clinics benefit from all proceeds raised by this feminist festival. Held at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, the event showcases women-centric movies, including a powerful short film penned by poet Warsan Shire and filmed at Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. planned.org/rwff
** Palm Strings Ukulele Festival / Oct. 31–Nov. 2
Spend three days celebrating everyone’s favorite four-stringed instrument with workshops, open mics, vendor booths, professional performances, and a concert-slash-costume-ball that’s been dubbed the Spooky Uke Bash. It all goes down at the Hilton Palm Springs. playuke.net
** Run with Los Muertos 5k and Block Party / Nov. 2
Running shoes and sugar skull face paint are equally appropriate at this event for the Mexican Day of the Dead. Run to honor a loved one in the 5k race, then join a celebration of life that involves an art walk, a beer garden, and live entertainment.