PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Dinah Shore Weekend is back, celebrating nearly a quarter century as one of the nation's largest lesbian gatherings. Event producers expect more than 15,000 attendees this year.
"I flew 3,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean just for this," said Julia Paulo, attending from Honolulu.
"We're attracting people from all other the world and we have a major impact on the valley," said Mariah Hanson, executive producer of Dinah Shore Weekend.
With sold-out hotels, and restaurants and bars filled to the brim, the city of Palm Springs is cashing in on one of the last events before the tourist season comes to an end.
"This is one of our biggest revenues for the year, which will probably get us through the summer when we kind of slow down," said Sherry Villanueva, front office manager at Hilton Palm Springs, which plays host to the five-day event both this year and next.
"It's a huge boost to the economy, the restaurants fill up, the snow birds are leaving and the gays and lesbians come in and boost the economy one last time," said Laura Rush, a Palm Springs resident attending the event.
Across the street from the Hilton, business at Sherman's Deli & Bakery has also surged.
"We'll probably do an extra 30% with the girls here on a weekend like this. It's fantastic, it's a great way to end our season to have a group like this come to town," said Sam Harris, owner of Sherman's.
And as the LGBT community continues to win milestone battles in its fight for equality, event organizers expect Dinah Shore to get bigger each year.
"Certainly it makes gay people feel more welcome and able to share their lives in a mainstream way," Hanson said.
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