Explore Palm Springs: Desert Circus Parade

To give the parade a circus feel, rubber-inflated animals and rubber clown heads were pulled down the parade route

Renee Brown History 0 Comments


The Desert Sun reported on Feb. 7, 1936 that the Desert Circus Parade would be comprised of 15 sections or classifications including floats ranging from 20-to 30-feet long and 15-to 25-feet high.

Chuck Morrison, head of the parade, said builders and decorators were busy building many interesting and unusual floats for local business concerns. He believed it would be the greatest parade ever staged in Riverside County.

To give the parade that old-time circus feel, a whole world of strange laugh-provoking creatures, all built on a gigantic scale, were going to march down the main street of Palm Springs. Provided by the Gilmore Circus parade, which last appeared in the Hollywood Christmas Day Parade, they will add to the Mardi Gras atmosphere of the local event.

Chuck Connors rides in the Desert Circus Parade.

This exciting addition to the Desert Circus Parade was furnished through the courtesy of a Palm Springs winter resident, Clarence Beesemyer, manager of the Gilmore Oil Company.

To pull the 13 rubber inflated grotesque and amusing animals and 15 rubber clown heads down the parade route, a call went out to local high school and grammar school boys. The only stipulation to participate in the event was that the boys must be over 5-foot-2 in height. Brand new clown costumes were provided to the boys and they received free passes to the Desert Circus.   

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 for more information.

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