Rob Scott wasn’t going to let a little weariness from an 11,000-mile road trip stop him from scoring a prime spot along Palm Canyon Drive Sunday morning.
Scott and his husband, Takashi Mitsuya, were up early, maneuvering their 2014 Airstream Interstate — complete with license plates that read PSPROUD — into place. Outside the RV, they set up chairs, a tent, and baked goods for the 10 guests they were hosting during the Greater Palm Springs Pride Grand Parade.
Scott, who just returned home Friday from the cross-country trip that started in April, said he was ready for what may be a “recovery year” after the parade was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
An estimated 50,000 others proved they were ready as well, lining the parade route in a show of force for the LGBTQ+ community and a return to normal for a city that spent the weekend in party mode. As the mimosas flowed and Pride flags flapped, the parade kicked off as scheduled at 10 AM, with a loud and proud contingent from Dykes on Bikes roaring down the city’s main street.
Few had better reasons to be proud than Steve Smith, who rode in the parade representing a lineage of owners and staff at Streetbar, an Arenas Road icon named this year’s Community Grand Marshall.
Streetbar was opened in August 1991 by Dick Haskamp and Hank Morgan. Haskamp passed away in March 2018, leaving the bar to employees David Farnsworth and Conrad Riley. Riley passed in 2020, leaving his half to Smith.
Like many who arrive in Palm Springs, Smith said he was immediately welcomed as part of the family at Streetbar 20 years ago, where he was eventually hired as a bartender and then become a manager. “It’s a local version of Cheers,” he said, adding that the employees, “are the backbone of the bar.”
“This recognition should be about them” Smith said of business’s two dozen employees before the start of the parade. “Thirty years ago when Dick started it, his tradition was that he loved working with the community.
“I’m hoping I can just follow along with his lead. I think he would be so proud right now.”