49th annual Golf Cart Parade features desert icon Barbara Sinatra

49th annual Golf Cart Parade features desert icon Barbara Sinatra

PALM DESERT, Calif. - "It's unreal to have this many people. It's 90 out, doesn't bother a person," said Joe Scardina, a local resident who has been attending the annual Golf Cart Parade for the last five years. 

Thousands of people lined El Paseo, cheering on nearly 100 bedazzled golf carts as they made their way down the promenade.

"It's a cute little thing celebrating the carts, which are so big in Palm Springs," said Robyn Ellsworth, a first-time attendee.

This year's Grand Marshal was Barbara Sinatra, a long-time resident and local icon of the desert.

"It's great to be here and it's wonderful to see all the people, and these are all local people from our community," Sinatra said.

She rode with her dog, Sir Winston Sinatra, on a Sunnylands golf cart, which brought back fond memories of her late husband, Frank.  

In 1976 Frank and Barbara were married on the famed estate.

"Walter Annenberg was the one that came to me and said, 'Well I want you to know I've decided you're good for Frank and I think that you should be married.'  And I said, 'Walter, from your mouth to God's ears, yes, you tell him.' And so evidently he did and here we are!" 

Barbara's appearance was a highlight for many of the spectators.

"Wonderful lady, nice, she's perfect for it because she's done so much for the community," Scardina said.

The golf cart parade began in the 1960s and became an annual tradition in 1983.  With this year's fitting 'Fun in the Sun' theme the golf carts are bigger and more extravagant than ever before.

"The more you get into it the more fun it is.  We worked on it for like a week," said Jessica Walker, who worked on the cart for Pete Carlson's Golf and Tennis.  

And work has already begun for next year, when the unique tradition celebrates 50 years of rolling down El Paseo. 

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