After being on the gay scene for over 15 years, and together as a couple for the last 7, we frequently attend LGBTQ celebrations across the globe. From the modest Gay Pride parade of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, to Sydney’s overwhelming Mardi Gras, and making it to the largest LGBTQ celebration in the world in San Francisco, we thought we had seen it all until we went to ‘The Dinah’.
It wasn’t until we watched a number of LGBTQ TV series such as The L Word, Exes and Ohs and The Real L Word, that we heard about ‘The Dinah’ aka the Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. After checking the event out on YouTube and the Official Dinah Shore Weekend Website, it turns out to be the largest all-girl party in the world.
The event is named after Golden Age Hollywood Movie star and singer, Dinah Shore, who revolutionized women’s golf in the Palm Springs area. Dinah Shore founded the annual all-female golf tournament, the Kraft Nabisco Golf Championship (KNGC), where women flock from all over the world to compete on the pristine greens of Palm Springs, California.
Party promoter Mariah Hanson founded the Dinah Shore Weekend event in 1991 and crowds have been piling in ever since.
Past celebrity performances at the Dinah Shore Weekend include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha. We were entertained by artists Lizzo, Butterscotch, Cece Peniston, and Margeaux.
The Dinah Shore Weekend is aimed at LGBTQ women, but all revellers are welcome, aint no hate at the Dinah gates!
Expect to be surrounded with lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans and label-less women and their friends sporting an selection of quirky, cool and slogan rich attire.
We booked our return flights to Los Angeles, an Amtrak to Palm Springs, and headed into the unknown.
The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend takes place over five days at the end of March from Wednesday to Sunday and the events are usually distributed across three venues: the Hilton Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and Zelda’s nightclub.
While a lot of people arrive for the start of the five days, most people travel into Palm Springs for the weekend events on Friday to Sunday.
Wristbands can be purchased way in advance of the event, we got our Early Bird Weekend passes in August for around $148pp. At the time of purchase, we were also offered a discounted stay at the Hilton Hotel. Check the the Official Dinah Website for details on tickets and hotel options.
Once you arrive in Palm Springs, wristbands can be collected in the Hilton lobby in exchange for your PDF ticket. The first will call for the wristbands takes place prior to the Official Pre Party on the Wednesday afternoon and if you are unable to collect your wrist band at that time, you can pick it up at the start of any of the events. Dinah staff will be present at each event should you have any queries or concerns.
We were warned not to tamper with the wristband or to cut the dangly bits off, and if we did so, it would be void!
We were also given another wristband from the Hilton Hotel that would allow us to pass security to go to our room.Overall TIPS for the entire Dinah event:
- HYDRATE! Drink water alongside your alcoholic beverages, the desert heat is HOT and you’ll probably be dancing a lot!
- If you can afford to, stay at one of the participating hotels of the event. You can drink and eat in your room at your own convenience, use your own restroom and refresh should you need to.
- Better still, make friends with someone who is staying there and ask if you can use their facilities! We loved our pool view room at the Hilton Palm Springs and we allowed our new friends to enjoy it with us.
- BUT if you don’t like being woken up at 8-9am during sound checks, then don’t stay at the Hilton, particularly in a pool view room! Ear plugs don’t cancel out the heavy base vibrating through your body!
- Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel if you prefer convenience at night, most of the evening events are held there and it is located just across the road from the Hilton.
- Join in with beer pong, beach ball games and arm wrestling, socialize, meet people, be friendly and open minded! We made so many friends at The Dinah who we can’t wait to meet up with next time!
- Don’t chop the excess ends of your Dinah wristband else it will be void!
- Though you have already obtained your Dinah wristband, you will be asked for ID in the clubs so be sure to have it with you
The Dinah usually begins on the last Wednesday of March where the ‘Official Pre-Party’ is hosted locally in Palm Springs. This year (2017), it was at the Hilton Palm Springs Hotel from 8pm until 12am at the South side of the pool. The early arrivals gathered around an open fire and were eased in to the chaotic five day celebration with smooth house music slowly increasing the BPM as the night got on. This is the night we met the most people as it was quite mellow. The chilled out atmosphere allowed us to chat instead of shouting over loud music.
There was no official Dinah party after the Official Pre-Party, so we headed to Zelda’s nightclub with our new found friends, believing it was a gay nightclub, and later learning it wasn’t!
It turned out to be local ‘Latin night’ that proved to be crazy fun! Only a small group of Dinah attendees appeared to be in the club, which certainly made the night interesting, particularly at the end where the DJ announced “All men, grab a woman now if you haven’t got one already, we are about to close!”
TIPS – For non-Dinah events, Zelda’s charge $10 cover and it isn’t ordinarily a LGBTQ venue (but still lots of fun!)
If we did the night again, we would have saved our energy and gone to bed after the Hilton pre-party in order to prepare for the following 4 nights of chaos at the club because we’re not hardcore anymore!
The pool at the Hilton Hotel in the day time seemed remarkably quiet, we were looking around for potential Dinah attendees among the families and businessmen lying on the sun loungers, we had expected the day to be a little crazy, but was glad of the peace and quiet while we battled a hangover from a wild night at Zelda’s.
We opted for sightseeing on this day and took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the Mount San Jacinto State Park, where we ended up stuck at the top for 4 hours due to high winds!
The Dinah madness came in the evening when the Official Opening party kicked off at Zelda’s nightclub (8pm to 2am). Then we saw all of the people!
Performers took to the stage along with an incredible laser light display in the nightclub. It reminded us of Ibiza!
As with any bar/club in California, punters have to be out of the door by 2am according to the law, so the lights came on and the security had us out by around 1:45am. This was something we were not used to in the UK so it took us by surprise!
TIPS – Drinks in the club are around $7.75 for a beer (slight increase from the night before).
- If you plan on visiting Mount San Jacinto State Park via the tramway, check the weather forecast! We went from 32°C to 2°C and we hiked in flip flops and shorts on snow! We also experienced terrible high winds and massive delays.
- The Hilton Hotel offer guests a free shuttle to Zelda’s, ask reception for details or pile in if it is waiting outside the reception area!
People from all over the world arrived in numbers, and in style. Pool party number 1 was hosted at the Hilton hotel and started at a tender 11am. We lingered around the hotel reception after breakfast to absorb what was going on. We managed to get to the pool first as soon as the doors were opened and ‘reserved’ a good spot in the shade with our towels, which was ideal for March desert temperatures hitting ~35°C.
We didn’t actually have to get there so early, there were plenty of spots in the shade available until the crowds piled in at around 1pm after brunch.
Needless to say the pool party was so much fun!
Live DJs, guest appearances and musicians performed right through until closing at 6pm.
Free water and ice is available throughout the day. Alcoholic drink offerings were reasonably priced for a large event ($6 Bud cans, $7 Stella, $10 cocktails). The pop up bars by the pool accept cash and card.
The famous ‘White Party’ is hosted at the Hard Rock Hotel on the Friday night of the Dinah (8pm to 2am). This year, it was referred to as the ‘Pink Pussy Party’ and regulars know this is the night to wear all white attire.
- You cannot take your own drinks or food into the pool party area, not even an empty bottle of water.
- One security person advised us that we were not allowed ‘selfie sticks’ or GoPro poles, yet another guard let us in with ours. Have a back up plan to store it somewhere just in case
Pool party number 2 is hosted at the Hilton Hotel, which is known officially as the ‘Wet and Wild Pool Party’, and this was probably the wildest one!
The Dinah Comedy House is hosted on the Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel from 8pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets for this event were not included in our General Weekend Passes, only VIP and advance Comedy ticket purchasers were permitted free entry. Limited tickets are available to buy at the door ($30) and we heard it was a hoot!
The Hard Rock Hotel hosted the Hollywood Party on the Saturday evening (8pm to 2am), which is unofficially known as the ‘black party’, where all black attire is worn. Again, the dress code is optional and some turned out in all white!
The last of three pool parties is hosted at the Hilton Hotel, known formally as the ‘Sunday Funday Pool Party’. This pool party was just as wild as the other two, with an added bonus of crowd competitions to win free tickets for the following year among other prizes!
We found 2 winning ducks after scooping up around 10! What are the chances?!
Other competitions included games on stage where cocktails were downed and butt shaking was judged by the audience!
More DJ battles entertained us throughout the day and live performances boomed out of the incredible sound system until 6pm.
The Official Closing Party was held at Zelda’s night club (8pm to 2am) on the Sunday evening. Butterscotch (musician/singer/beat boxing champion) performed a mellow set early on which was followed by insane dance music. The Dinah celebrations finished by 2am and we were officially done in!
Listen carefully to details of the competitions being run at the pool party, get involved for a chance to win prizes, including free tickets for the following year!