Explore Palm Springs: Desert Circus 1947

Annual celebration marks end of visitor season

Renee Brown History 0 Comments


As the winter season begins to wind down, the annual Desert Circus celebration revs up and brings out locals and visitors for one of the last celebrations before summer arrives.

The Desert Circus is never complete without an attractive local young lady to reign as queen over the week’s activities. In 1947, the Desert Circus Queen was Barbara “Babs” Neel.   A local girl who worked for Villa Hermosa, one of the finest new hotels in the city, Neel filled the positions of room clerk, stenographer, and switchboard operator. She was chosen because she was an enthusiastic equestrienne who spent most of her spare time in the saddle.


The Desert Circus beauties compete for the title of Desert Circus Queen.


On April 12, 1947, she led the Desert Circus Parade down Palm Canyon Drive. She also led the grand march into the Polo Grounds for the championship rodeo held that Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The Village Insanities was held on April 9 that year at the Palm Springs Tennis Club. “Babs” led in all of the locals who had been arrested by the volunteer deputy sheriffs up onto the stage so they could be tried and fined by the Kangaroo Court.  

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013.

One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.


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