PALM DESERT -

Frank Sinatra's widow will be the grand marshal of the 49th annual Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade on Oct. 27, organizers announced Wednesday.

"I am thrilled to be a part of this valley-wide event and look forward to spending the day with this wonderful community I call my home,'' Barbara Sinatra said.

More than 25 years ago, Sinatra started raising funds to open a facility that would provide counseling for children who'd been physically, sexually and emotionally abused. The nonprofit Barbara Sinatra Children's Center opened on the Eisenhower Medical Center campus in Rancho Mirage in 1986, and has helped more than 18,000 children up to age 18, according to its website.

"We are filled with gratitude to have `Lady Blue Eyes' herself as this year's grand marshal,'' said parade chairman Mike Hardin.

He said she "has made an instrumental impact on our community through the Children's Center and the Frank Sinatra Golf Invitational,'' which raises money for the children's center.

Sinatra is also a member of the Eisenhower Medical Center Board of Directors and has been involved with the Desert Art Museum, McCallum Theatre and Temple Isaiah.

The Sinatras were married from 1976 until the entertainer's death in 1998.

The golf cart parade on El Paseo will include a pancake breakfast, golf expo and cart show, along with children's activities.

For information, reservations or to enter the parade, call the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce at (760) 346-6111, email
info@goldcartparade.com or go to www.golfcartparade.com .