It’s the largest lesbian music and comedy festival in the world, right in our backyard
By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor
Dinah Shore Weekend got its start more than three decades ago, when lesbians began to gather in small groups in various hotels in the Coachella Valley so they could attend the Colgate Dinah Shore Golf Tournament, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite women’s golfer in action.
Later, Nabisco took over sponsorship and the event became one of four majors on the LPGA circuit, when it became Nabisco Dinah Shore LPGA Championship.
For those who are unaware, Dinah Shore was a beloved songstress in the 1950s and ‘60s who had her own daytime talk show in the 1970s.
She was also well known for dating the popular actor Burt Reynolds, not long after his naked body graced the centerfold of Cosmopolitan – a first for the magazine.
Eventually the gaggles of lesbians hanging out around a dozen or so pools were turned into the cottage industry the Palm Spring Dinah Shore Weekend is today, led by founder and executive producer Mariah Hanson.
Many of the women who started going 30 years ago still go today — to the golf tournament, that is. To read the detailed history of The Dinah Shore Weekend that I wrote seven years ago, visit tinyurl.com/zr5zg7s.
2017 Host hotels
After many years of utilizing the expansive Palm Springs Convention Center to host the larger weekend events, this year’s producers of The Dinah — which takes place March 29–April 2 — are getting back to its roots, bringing many of the weekend’s events back into its two host hotels.
The Hilton Palm Springs Hotel & Spa, located at 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, remains the primary host hotel, as it has been for the last five years. Jumping in as the second host hotel is the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, located a block away at 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive. The Hard Rock space was frequently a secondary host hotel in the past, first as Hotel Zoso and then the first year the Hard Rock took the hotel over in 2013.
If you can’t afford the host hotels or they sell out, never fear, there are hundreds of other hotels in the greater Palm Springs area to choose from, but they go fast this time of year. If you can afford it, it’s always best to be at the host hotel, however, because transportation and parking can be a challenge. So much easier to walk downstairs or across the street to get around to all the parties you plan to attend.
While the opening and closing parties have always been at Zelda’s, the one big event of the weekend still being held at the Palm Springs Convention Center this year is the Dinah Comedy House, Saturday, April 1, at 8 p.m.
Attendees will get to hear the hilarious comedy from Erin Foley, Julie Goldman and Gina Yashere. Tickets are $30 and this show is only included in the weekend VIP pass, not the regular weekend pass. A limited amount of tickets will also be available at the door.
The pool parties have always been one of the biggest draws for The Dinah, with many women making the drive early Sunday morning to catch the last day of festivities, or others making a Saturday day-trip with a poolside destination.
You can enjoy all three pool parties this year — TGIDF, Wet & Wild and Sunday Funday, which all take place at the Hilton Palm Springs Hotel & Spa — with the purchase of a weekend pass or weekend VIP pass.
Expect lots of women; incredible performances; DJs of varying types; lots of dancing; swimming, splashing and water games; drink specials; an exhibit area with LGBT-themed vendors and giveaways; celebrity sightings; and more women.
Pool party lineup includes: Friday — (live performances) Blackbox, Velvet Dive; (DJ) Keala Kennelly; (appearance) Rose Garcia. Saturday — (live performance) Tish Hyman; (appearances) Elizabeth Keener, Rachel Paulson, Mindy Sterling and Rose Garcia. Sunday — (live performance) Lizzo; (appearance) Rose Garcia.
While Wednesday is now the official pre-party, Thursday is when the party really gets started with the Throwback Thursday Opening Party at Zelda’s Nightclub, located just a few blocks away from the host hotels at 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive. The weekend of entertainment kicks off from 9 p.m.– 2 a.m., when Canadian singer and songwriter Margeaux Simms — from “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” (@houseofmargeaux) — will perform live.
Friday night brings the legendary White Party at the Hard Rock Hotel from 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Dance and R&B icon Cece Penniston will bring down the house with Kittens spinning away the rest of the evening.
Saturday night will again be spent at the Hard Rock Hotel for the Hollywood Party, from 9 p.m.– 2 a.m.
Also the mysterious FHB (@FHBOfficial), who conceals their identity so as not to be labeled but rather lets the music speak for itself, will also perform.
Sunday the Closing Party takes the fun back to Zelda’s for a live performance with Butterscotch (#Butterscotchmusic), a beatboxer and musician.
Passes and tickets
There are various ways you can enjoy the Dinah Shore Weekend. You can do it cafeteria style and just pick and choose a couple events you wish to participate in, but the best deal is the weekend passes.
Individual events you can purchase in advance include the Comedy Show, $30; the Friday Pool Party, $40; and the rest of the pool parties, $60; and the White Party and Hollywood Party, $60. The Opening and Closing Parties at Zelda’s will offer limited tickets at the door for $30.
VIP Weekend Pass is $500 through March 30 — it gives you VIP access to all events and shows. Every one of them. Plus, you get priority entrance and seating; exclusive lounges and bars to hang out in; bottle service options; and special VIP receptions on Friday and Saturday night.
Weekend Pass is $289 through March 30 — you get priority admission to seven parties (Thursday opening party; Friday pool party; White Party; Saturday Pool Party; Hollywood Party; Sunday Pool Party and the Sunday night closing party).
If you are staying at one of the two host hotels, you will get a promo code that gives you a discount for the weekend pass.
Get your tickets here — thedinah.com/tickets.
Whenever you are attending Dinah Shore Weekend, remember that there are so many other things to appreciate about the Palm Springs area while you are there: the visual of those oh-so-close mountains; the tramway to the top; the city’s history and walk of fame; the LPGA golf tournament going on across town; the valley’s vast array of diverse restaurants; the many hot springs, spas and casinos … hell, just knowing a celebrity could be around every corner is reason enough to go enjoy yourself.
To see a partial list of those who plan on making appearances, visit tinyurl.com/jlxrsxo.
—Reach Morgan M. Hurley at email@example.com.