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Being Green Can Yield Greenbacks

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Kermit The Frog’s tagline is: “It’s not easy being green.” If he were to be referring to real estate, he would be mistaken. Every existing home has the potential for improvement, California is investing in retrofits, and people are desirous of energy efficient upgrades. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) expects the percentage of green building to double in the next five years to a 70 billion dollar industry.

California policies aim to improve energy efficiency. Residential Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECOs) typically require property owners to implement specific measures to reduce energy and water use. A property’s point of sale, a significant remodel or addition, or a specific date by which all subject properties must comply can trigger compliance.

California AB 758 is an energy efficiency law authorizing the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a statewide program for energy efficiency upgrades of existing buildings. These upgrades could be mandatory, voluntary, or a combination of both and involve time of sale energy auditing.

California Civil Code 2079.10 requires real estate sellers and brokers to inform buyers about the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) program. An owner of an existing home can hire a certified HERS rater from an approved provider to perform an energy audit which will evaluate the performance of energy-related components (e.g. insulation, windows, heating/cooling system, ducts, water heating, appliances). Combustion safety testing, moisture, or indoor air quality are not addressed. The rater generates a detailed rating report, explains key elements, and summarizes the energy use and recommended cost-effective efficiency improvements.

The SAVE Act would require expected energy costs and savings to be added to the home-affordability calculations for all federal agency-backed mortgages.

Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifies contractors to conduct comprehensive whole-home assessments that go beyond a traditional energy audit and sets the standard nationally for home performance. It uses building science to evaluate a home, identifies potential health and safety risks, identifies cost-effective improvement options or needed repairs, follows national and state protocols, and assures work quality. A “green” home is not limited to the benefits of energy efficiency but also encompasses indoor air quality, water conservation, resource conservation, and community design. Contractors must be BPI to participate in California’s Energy Upgrade California Program.

Having recently completed the National Association of Realtors (NAR) GREEN designation course, Team Carol Trentacosta can help you achieve a healthier, more comfortable home, understand green and energy upgrade opportunities that can lower utility bills and maintenance costs, access available rebates and financing, as well as increase your home’s value!

-Contributed by Hilary Christiansen

Water Use Reduction & Penalties for Coachella Valley Homeowners

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That water in California is scarce shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Drought penalties that will soon be applied to the Coachella Valley Water District’s (CVWD) billing process and go into effect July 1, 2015 could shock many. Carol Trentacosta and Team attended a recent meeting of the CVWD regarding the restrictions and impact on homeowners.

In response to Governor Edmund G. Brown’s Executive Order B-29-15 on April 1, 2015 mandating a 25% statewide reduction in urban water use, the CVWD has adopted a new ordinance that shall remain in effect until the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is expected to rescind Emergency Regulations on February 28, 2016.

Except where necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency, this newly adopted ordinance mandates numerous restrictions.

  • One prohibition that will likely have a significant impact on homeowner associations is the elimination of an increased water budget for over-seeding.
  • New home developments could also be greatly affected if potable water is used to mitigate dust.
  • Contained in this ordinance are also recommended activities, including but not limited to, the encouragement of the irrigation and preservation of trees and shrubs, installation of an irrigation smart (weather based) controller, and discouragement of decorative fountains and water features.

Fines for noncompliance include a first violation written notice, a second violation in the amount of $50.00 a third violation of $100.00, and a fourth violation of $200.00. Subsequent violations could result in discontinued water service.

Water demand varies from location to location and from day to day within a location. It also depends on the time of day, the day of the week, the season of the year, prevailing weather conditions, manufacturing demands, and unusual events, such as, fires or mains breaks. The SWRCB has determined that the CVWD has a residential water use above 215 gallons per person per day and must reduce its outdoor water use by 36%.

Approximately 45% of CVWD’s customers are believed to be in the “penalty zone”. Those who have already taken steps to reduce water use should not be penalized. The goals with this ordinance are to conserve water, deter waste and unreasonable use of water, encourage efficiency, and to help cover the costs related to the investigation, inspection, and administration of the ordinance enforcement.

coachella valley water district water penalties california drought*Note: 1 Ccf (hundred cubic feet) is equivalent to 748 gallons.

Carol Trentacosta and Team recently received the National Association of REALTORS’s GREEN designation. We can help you achieve a healthier, more comfortable home, understand green and energy upgrade opportunities (including turf conversion) that can lower utility bills and maintenance costs, access available rebates and financing, as well as increase your home’s value. Contact us today an let us know how we can help.

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~by Hilary Christiansen

Cool Beans at the Palm Desert Farmers’ Market

Palm Desert Farmers Market Homes For Sale Real Estate

Visit the Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market, and you just might think it is a piece of conceptual art belonging to the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert next door. Your senses will delight in a variety of California Certified farm products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, organic juices, tamales, and extra virgin olive oil skin moisturizer, handmade popsicles and herb-infused chocolate, green smoothies, etc.

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 Located adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce at 72-559 Highway 111, the Certified Farmers’ Market takes place on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and last Wednesday of the month (thru May) from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The new Evening Market happens on the first Wednesday of the month (thru May) from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. In addition to the regular regionally based farms and specialty vendors, nighttime visitors can expect to find entertainment, special events, chef demonstrations, live farm animals, antique farm equipment, booths, and more.

Also operating in Palm Springs and La Quinta, the Certified Farmers’ Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.

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 As temperatures rise in our Palm Springs Valley, refresh yourself at the Certified Farmers Market in Palm Desert with a Cucumber Chili Lime, Date Chai Spiced, Peach Lemonade, or other popsicle “handmade with love”. From The Coachella Valley Brewing Company booth, purchase a craft beer with which to hydrate later. Take a stroll through The Garden & Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden to feed your soul. And, savor a happy hour (or more) at nearby gourmet restaurants Cuistot and La Spiga Ristorante. Be cool!

Contributed by Hilary Christiansen

Palm Springs Real Estate Market Update – May 2015

Market Update – May 2015

The Greater Palm Springs and Coachella Valley real estate market is currently challenged by slow sales. Home sales are about 15% below two years ago and 30% below the long-term norms of the pre-bubble market period. Several factors that were mentioned in last month’s update (higher prices, loss of our Canadian buyers due to devaluation of their currency and tight lending) continue to be factors in the sluggish sales growth. From the latest information provided by the Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors and Market Watch, there are two notable factors to consider and watch to understand the current trends of the local real estate market.

PRICING

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As the chart above indicates, three of our cities (Coachella, Palm Springs and Cathedral City) have seen significant increases in their price per square foot over the past 12 months. Palm Springs is now only 11% shy of its all-time high price per square foot experienced in 2006.

Of all the Desert Resort Cities, Palm Springs continues to be the most active market in overall sales activity. Some factors that may contribute to Palm Springs’ greater success in real estate recovery include: the continued increase of tourism and marketable promotion of the city’s overall appeal as a brand and destination; a greater concentration of homes for sale at a price point under $1 million; a limited space available for new construction – though, to note, there continues to be an increase in new construction projects in Palm Springs in addition to the revival of additional Phase projection construction in developments where further planned build-outs froze after the real estate bubble.

INVENTORY

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The inventory of homes throughout our desert resort cities has increased by nearly 1,000 units from last year. April 2015 saw 5,029 homes on market in the Coachella Valley. The overall valley has an average of 7.2 months of inventory. Many of our valley cities continue to be in a Buyer’s Market with the competitive negotiating edge proving that pricing your home correctly when first placing it on the market is key to successful listing and selling.

On a positive note, we anticipate our selling season expanding past the normal “season” of the Valley with buyers showing a strong presence into June and the summer months. This is also indicative of the Valley’s overall appeal as a year-round destination with special events and attractions being offered and sponsored by local municipalities to further enhance this appeal. Once a Winter & Spring destination, our valley cities are continuing to see extended tourism and home sales seasons extending further into the Summer months and starting earlier in the Fall as well.

More April Events in the Coachella Valley

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With the easter holiday weekend behind us, there’s still plenty of things to see in do across the Coachella Valley this month. Here are some not-to be missed highlights for April 2015.

April 10 – April 12, 2015 (1st weekend)
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Location: Empire Polo Club
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.coachella.com/
The largest alternative rock festival in the country, set on the Empire Polo Grounds, which attracts many European visitors, and the occasional celebrity to a three day mix of famous acts, wacky art and film.

April 10, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Chris Botti
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/show_details.php?id=722
A McCallum smooth jazz favorite, acclaimed trumpeter Chris Botti returns by popular demand. Chris’ lush sound combines impeccable technique with thoughtful improvisations.www.chrisbotti.com

April 11, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sam Harris
Location: Annenberg Theater
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.psmuseum.org/palm-springs/performance/sam-harris-best-sam-harris/
Sam Harris’ diversified career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film and television to writer, director, producer and now, author. After pulling a weekly audience of more than 25 million viewers and going on to win Star Search in it’s premier season, Sam and his powerhouse pop, gospel and theater influenced vocals have never looked back.

April 16 – April 18, 2015
Open Call 2015 Talent Competition McCallum Theatre
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/
Don’t miss the Valley’s best performers of all ages in this exciting talent competition that has become a McCallum audience favorite and sell-out event. Local artists team up with the staff and crew to present four visually stunning and energy filled performances. Vote for your favorite performer on Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Celebrate the winners at Saturday evening’s final performance. Performance times at 7pm on April 16,17 and 2pm/7pm April 18.

April 24 – April 26, 2015
Stagecoach Country Music Festival
Location: Empire Polo Club
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/
Stagecoach is a three-day annual Country Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California, in the Coachella Valley. This year’s dates are set for April 24-26, 2015, with performers to be announced.

April 2015 Market Update

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At a recent meeting of Windermere’s top-producing agents & fellow Premier Directors at the Indian Wells Country Club, we discussed the current real estate market in the Coachella Valley. I wanted to share some of the information and insights from that meeting with you as it is important for both Buyers & Sellers to understand what is affecting our real estate market right now.

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General Market Trends

– Our Canadian buyers whom had been approximately 40% of our market are staying away from buying due to the current value of their currency. The majority of our Buyers continue to be out-of-state homeowners looking for 2nd and vacation homes.

– Overall, we are seeing more people downsizing in their home’s size whether they are part-time or year-long residents.

– We are seeing a decline in the popularity of golf which may adversely affect our gated communities though many properties have been expanding their community perks such as a stronger emphasis on tennis, clubhouse and spa services as well as more trending past times like pickle ball courts and bocci ball.

– The wave of Baby Boomers that we had expected to hit our market has not materialized so far. Not necessarily a sign of decline in the area, this could be due to circumstances such as a continued presence in the work force, remaining past the previously anticipated retirement age.

– Both the General Trends and Buyers’ Trends suggest it is indeed a Buyer’s Market right now. Acknowledging and working with these insights in mind will help me work together to most effectively market my listings to potential buyers.

Buyers’ Trends

– New construction is double what it was a year ago so many prospective buyers are going to new rather than re-sales. Energy efficient options such as solar energy panels, electric car plug-ins and more energy efficient construction & materials seem to support or augment this trend. Water conservation awareness has of course spread to many communities with municipalities and other government agencies offering rebates for drought-resistant and lower water usage landscaping.

Listings that need staging or updating are remaining inactive on the market. The current Buyer wants to see the home closer to move-in ready even if they will be bringing in their own furnishings on purchase. The desire to create their own home or take on major renovation projects in order to update a home prior to move-in seems to be on the decline.

Homes need to be priced right! Buyers want the best for the most competitive price. Your home needs to be priced so that it will appraise based on recent sales not historical sales. Although the monies you have put into your home matter in maintaining an updated home, the listing price cannot be based on this figure but needs to reflect the current market value. A lack of showing activity indicates the list price needs to be addressed. A Buyer’s first offer seems to be close to what their final offer will be. If there’s a huge difference in counter offers, we are seeing Buyers walk away from a home of interest after only a round or two of price negotiations to consider other properties that are more negotiable.

– The flux of the overall market economy and the bounce of oil prices seems to be making Buyers more hesitant and has contributed to the dramatic drop-off in showings early in our season.

– On a positive note, our selling season continues to expand past the normal “season” of the Valley with buyers continuing to show a strong presence into June and the summer months.

Serena’s BNP Paribas Open Return in Sight

BNP Paribas Indian Tennis Gardens Serena Williams

Rancho Mirage might be known as “Playground of Presidents”, but the world’s best tennis players and several hundred thousand of their fans will converge upon the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the renowned BNP Paribas Open from March 9-12, 2015.

Located at 78-200 Miles Avenue (between Washington St. and Fred Waring Dr.), this spectacular venue is owned by billionaire CEO and co-founder of Oracle Larry Ellison. In March 2014, it was expanded to include a second stadium with a seating capacity of 8,000, 6 broadcast booths, 3 fine dining restaurants (Nobu, Chop House & Piero’s PizzaVino), as well as a box office. Stadium 1 is the second largest in the world, comprised of 16,100 seats, 44 luxurious stadium suites, locker rooms, a press room, broadcast booths, a 6,000 square-foot commissary, and more.

This month, the largest WTA and ATP World Tour combined 2-week event will celebrate its 40th anniversary and welcome past champions NovakDjokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Caroline Wozniacki. Like President Obama’s recurring visits to our attractive Palm Springs Valley, Serena Williams’s first appearance at the BNP Paribas Open since having won it in 2001 is generating much excitement. Citing harsh treatment from her fans, this #1 ranked player who recently earned her sixth Australian Open title and 19th Grand Slam crown had vowed to never return. Visit bnpparibas.com for further tournament details.

If you should find yourself in need of a break from tennis action, drive south on Washington Street. Within approx. 15 minutes, you will arrive at The La Quinta Civic Center Campus -a 17.5 acre park adjacent to La Quinta City Hall, La Quinta Senior Center and La Quinta Library. Just west at 78100 Main Street, enjoy an array of shops and restaurants at charming Old Town La Quinta.

Heading west on Fred Waring Drive for approx. 4 miles, you will reach Palm Desert’s Civic Center Park. This 70-acre park includes 6 tennis courts (closed Mondays from 1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. for maintenance) with 2 pickleball-only courts (Monday 8:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m. and Tuesday thru Sunday 8:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m.), 4 baseball fields, 4 volleyball courts, 3 basketball courts, 5 picnic pavilions, a skate park, a tot lot, as well as a dog park. Also found here is a collection of public art, including The Holocaust Memorial, The Peace Memorial, The Dreamer, and Desert Dessert.

Pamper your body with a variety of fresh, raw, organic, bio-active food and cosmetic items at Harvest Health Foods, Luscious Lorraine’s, and The Body Deli which are located at 73910 CA-111 (north side), between Portola Avenue and San Luis Rey Avenue.

Interested in purchasing a second home or investment property near the Indian Wells Tennis Garden? Check out our recent piece about Palm Royale Country Club which lies adjacent and offers many wonderful amenities!

~by Hilary Christiansen

March 2015 Event Calendar for Palm Springs and the Desert Resort Cities

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March 6 – March 8, 2015

First Weekend Palm Desert
Location: Palm Desert
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.palm-desert.org/events/first-weekend

The season is in full swing in Palm Desert in March, which makes this the perfect month to learn all about what First Weekend Palm Desert has to offer! Each month from November through May, starting with the first Friday and continuing through the weekend, you have a chance to discover a celebration of world-class arts and entertainment. For a complete list of events, visit the First Weekend website or call the Palm Desert Visitor Center at 760-568-1441.

March 6, 2015
3:15 pm – 6:00 pm
El Paseo Cruise Night
Location: El Paseo
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.elpaseocruisenight.com/home.html

Remember when cars were cool? They still are–especially during El Paseo Cruise Night. Cars start arriving around 3:15pm at the upper level of parking structure behind The Gardens on El Paseo. Visitors are welcome to view the cars and meet the owners. After a few welcoming remarks, cruisers hit El Paseo at 4:30pm, so grab a chair and enjoy the show!

March 6, 2015
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
El Paseo Art Walk
Location: El Paseo
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.elpaseoartwalk.com/

The renowned El Paseo Art Walk, a long-standing tradition on El Paseo, is held on the First Friday of every month, November through May, as part of the Palm Desert “First Weekend” city-wide promotion. Join the Art Galleries along with El Paseo Cruise Night and Extended Shopping Hours in participating shops, on the First Friday of every month from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be exhibit openings, artist receptions and more! Enjoy seeing everything there is to see, from the Palm Desert Art Museum in Pam Desert’s Free First Friday events, to each gallery and stops along the way, traveling in style on the El Paseo Courtesy Carts!

March 7, 2015
10:00 am – 4:00 am
Desert Arts Festival
Location: Frances Stevens Park
Event Type: Art Show/Fair
Event Web Site: http://www.westcoastartists.com/shows/ps3.html

The Desert Arts Festival will feature 100 artists presenting their original work in all mediums of two and three dimensional fine art, including paintings in acrylic, oils and watercolors, photography, etchings, sculpture in clay, glass, metal, stone and wood. Each artist will be present to meet with the public and discuss their work. All work is available for purchase. In addition to fine art, fine crafts will also be presented. Festival attendees will find blown glass, turned wood, semi-precious jewelry, pottery, stained glass, and an array of high-quality crafts.

March 7 – March 8, 2015
Johnny Mathis
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/showdetails.php?id=769

Welcome Johnny Mathis back to the McCallum Theatre stage! One of the last in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the 1960s, Johnny Mathis’ romantic jazz and pop standards like “Chances Are,” “It’s Not For Me To Say” and “Misty” continue to delight audiences across the world. Johnny has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame twice and received the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Performance times March 07 8 PM March 08 7 PM

March 7, 2015
5:15 pm – 7:00 pm
Gardens Annual Concert Series
Location: Gardens on El Paseo
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.thegardensonelpaseo.com/events

Popular seasonal event at The Gardens on El Paseo. For a $12 donation residents and visitors alike can enjoy a wine and cheese reception held on the center lawn before the concert begins at 5:15 p.m. This date presents the Art of Sax benefiting Shelter From the Storm
March 9 – March 22, 2015
BNP Paribas Open
Location: Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Event Type: Tennis
Event Web Site: http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/

The BNP Paribas Open, the largest WTA and ATP World Tour combined two-week event in the world, to be held March 9-22, 2015 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

March 5, 2015
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Music and Dining Under the Stars featuring The Lucky Tongue Band
Location: Desert Willow Golf Resort
Event Type: Dining
Event Web Site: http://desertwillow.com/MusicDining

On select Thursday evenings this season from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, we will play host to some of the Coachella Valley’s premier music acts, featuring sounds varying from Dixie Land Jazz to Classic Rock and also the smooth sounds of Contemporary Jazz.Our Music and Dining Under the Stars events, featuring mouth-watering buffets and top-notch live music, are set into the majestic vistas provided by our outdoor Lakeview Terraces and Clubhouse.Reservations are required and will fill up quickly. Make sure to book in advance so you can relish the flavors and tunes of Music and Dining Under the Stars. For Reservations, email kworden@desertwillow.com, or call (760) 346-0015 Ext 104.

March 7, 2015
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Coachella Valley Wildflower Festival
Location: Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monume
Event Type: First Weekend
Event Web Site: http://www.desertmountains.org/

Come celebrate the beauty of the wildflowers at the 8th annual Friends Wildflower Festival. The activities will include food, a beer and wine garden, kids’ zone, exhibitors, raffles, and much, much more. For more information contact 760-568-9918 or email DesertMountains.org.

March 12, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Dancing and Romancing
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/show_details.php?id=778

The Desert Symphony Broadway and Hollywood combine for a romantic and entertaining evening of song and dance with two veterans of the Broadway stage: Joan Hess and Kirby Ward. Inspired by the likes of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Eleanor Powell, this evening will put a song in your heart and have you dancing in the aisles! You will see one of the most prolific Pops performances and revel in some of the greatest music ever composed. In concert with The Desert Symphony Orchestra.

March 18, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Spencer Day
Location: Annenberg Theater
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.psmuseum.org/palm-springs/performance/spencer-day/

Spencer Day is Contemporary singer and songwriter, whose early albums were followed more recently by the acclaimed Vagabond in 2009 and the recently-released The Mystery of You in 2013. Scheduled for release on May 16 is a new CD, called Daybreak. While a strong jazz musician, his music has evolved with a variety of influences from folk rock’s The Association, rockabilly, big bands and Nancy Sinatra. He enjoys the versatility and flexibility of his music and plans on performing a show that will infuse elements of cabaret, storytelling, and comedy with his piano and vocals.

March 20 – March 22, 2015
The Ten Tenors
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/show_details.php?id=717

Back by popular demand! Australia’s The Ten Tenors have taken Palm Desert by storm. One of the most popular groups to ever appear at the McCallum Theatre, they return with a brand new show featuring Broadway’s beloved hits performed as only the The Tenors can. You’ll hear music from Jersey Boys, Guys & Dolls, Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera and many more. Plus, some of the great hits you have come to expect from The Ten Tenors. You won’t want to miss this show! Performance times March 20 8 PM March 21 2 PM and 8 PM March 22 2 PM and 7 PM

March 21, 2015
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Art Under the Umbrellas
Location: Old Town La Quinta
Event Type: Art Show/Fair
Event Web Site: http://www.lqaf.com/cultural-events/art-under-the-umbrellas/

Over 80 artists participate at each Art Under the Umbrellas event, located along the closed-off streets of this charming outdoor venue reminiscent of colonial Mexico. This makes for an enjoyable day outdoors perusing artist wares, exploring Old Town shops, and dining in Old Town restaurants. Art patrons will find quality artwork, while tourists will discover treasured mementos.

March 21, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Westside Story to Wicked: Broadway with the Callaways
Location: Annenberg Theater
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.psmuseum.org/palm-springs/performance/westside-story-wicked-broadway-the-callaways/

The Tony®-nominated Callaway Sisters are raising the roof with their newest show West Side Story to Wicked: Broadway with the Callaways! This dynamic duo from Chicago proves they’re one singular sensation, singing showstoppers from West Side Story, Chicago, Funny Girl, Cats, Carousel, Wicked and more. Ann’s dark, husky and jazz-flavored sound is the perfect complement for Liz’s clear bell tones in an evening of wit, humor and the soaring sounds of the greatest songs of Broadway!

March 22 – March 28, 2015
Fashion Week El Paseo
Location: El Paseo
Event Type: Fashion Show
Event Web Site: http://www.fashionweekelpaseo.com/

The Tenth Annual Fashion Week El Paseo™ unfolds March 22-28, 2015 under the Runway Tent on Larkspur Lane between El Paseo and Shadow Mountain in Palm Desert, California – the heart of Palm Desert’s most celebrated shopping district: El Paseo. Fashion Week El Paseo™ showcases the newest collections by top designers as well as fresh ideas by emerging designers. Produced by Palm Springs Life, it has become one of the Coachella Valley’s most popular events.

March 24, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Women of Ireland
Location: McCallum Theatre
Event Type: Concert
Event Web Site: http://www.mccallumtheatre.com/show_details.php?id=771

Women of Ireland is an innovative and exciting full stage concert production which showcases the next generation of Ireland’s leading female performers. The show demonstrates the wealth of talent that exists within Ireland’s traditions of music, song and dance.

March 26 – March 30, 2015
American Documentary Film Festival
Location: Camelot Theatres
Event Type: Film Festival
Event Web Site: http://www.americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com/

The American Documentary Film Festival is located in the beautiful resort community of Palm Springs, California. Strategically located 2 hours east of Hollywood, this film mecca boasts a favorable viewing audience, many self-proclaimed aficionados. The American Documentary Film Festival aims to be the largest documentary festival and market on the West Coast of the United States. Our main objective is to promote a world vision of film as seen through the eyes of the filmmaker of whomever or whatever their subject matter may be in order to educate and entertain the film goer.

March 27 – March 29, 2015
Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert
Location: El Paseo
Event Type: Food and Wine Tasting
Event Web Site: http://www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com/

The 5th annual the Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ will be held March 27-29, 2015. The festival, organized by Palm Springs Life, will gather the brightest and most inspired chefs from across the country for three extraordinary days of culinary and wine tasting under The Big White Tent on Larkspur between El Paseo and Shadow Mountain in Palm Desert, CA. This event will be uniquely educational in focus, showcasing the Coachella Valley as the ultimate culinary destination.

March 30 – April 5, 2015
ANA Inspiration LPGA Golf Tournament
Location: Mission Hills Country Club
Event Type: Golf
Event Web Site: http://anainspiration.com/

Formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Challenge, witness over 100 ladies compete at The Mission Hills Counrty Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. for the coveted Dinah Shore Trophy, and see if this year’s winner will continue the tradition of leaping into Poppies Pond at the 18th hole.

Food Trucks Hit the Coachella Valley

Devices aren’t the only thing going mobile these days! Since Riverside County lifted major restrictions on full-service food trucks in April 2014 and several desert cities, including Cathedral City, Indio, and Palm Desert, have since approved food truck regulations, “restaurants on wheels” have taken off here in the Coachella Valley.

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At La Quinta’s recent Humana Challenge golf event, the Roll’N Lobster food truck was one of the more popular eateries. Having relocated from New England to Los Angeles, its owner Peter Crest prides himself on serving fresh, quality East Coast seafood.

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Adjacent to Cathedral City’s weekly Farmers’ Market which is open from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Gourmet Food Truck Fare takes place on the first Sunday of each month through May from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Town Square. Located at 68-701 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, it sits in front of City Hall and the Fountain of Life where the community can gather, have fun, and enjoy beautiful surroundings. The Coachella Valley Arts Scene, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting art, music, and culture in the Coachella Valley, provides live entertainment. Offering some of the best craft beers from La Quinta Brewing Company and Coachella Valley Brewing Company is a beer garden.

Food truck participants from Orange and Los Angeles Counties have included California Grill Truck which makes a Korean grilled cheese sandwich, Eat ’Em Up Truck featuring organic and all-natural ingredients, Falasophy Truck with its vegetarian and vegan dishes, Chef Chris Kim’s Rolling Sushi Van, Classic Tacos, whose owner hails from Indio, Piaggio on Wheels featuring a variety of Argentine specialties, and Grandpa’s Ice Cream Shoppe.

Under the county ordinance which will give cities leeway to add their own restrictions, trucks must undergo and pass inspections by county health officials and obtain annual permits. Like restaurants, they will also be graded on a letter system. Truck operators are required to go through a commissary to store supplies and food. Cathedral City’s ShareKitchen, a non-profit incubator for culinary entrepreneurs, is considering building a large facility in Riverside County.

Palm Desert, the first valley city to welcome food trucks, put a 750-foot buffer zone around existing restaurants. According to maps drawn up by the city’s planning department, the rules would make El Paseo and Highway 111 off limits. Restrictions dictate that food trucks may operate May 1 through September 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 7 p.m. and keep trucks 1,500 feet away from schools. Supporters of the food truck industry who want to see it develop in the Coachella Valley object to the strict guidelines.

By Hilary Christiansen

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