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Entries in Lifestyles & Things To Do

In a Pickle

Reflecting pickleball’s growing popularity, the 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships step into the limelight at the Indian Well Tennis Garden.

Courtesy of THOMAS MEAGHER OCTOBER 25, 2018

  The 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships will involve players from the valley and take place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Nov. 3-11.   PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVEN SALISBURY

The 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships will involve players from the valley and take place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Nov. 3-11.


“Interest is off the charts.”

That’s how Justin Maloof, executive director of the USA Pickleball Association, describes the build-up to his fast-growing sport’s 10th annual National Championships, which for the first time will take place in the valley, Nov. 3-11, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

“We’ve got about 2,500 participants registered, which is a remarkable increase from the 1,300 we had last year,” Maloof explains.  “It’s our hope that this event will begin to move pickleball more into the national spotlight.”

The time is certainly right for that step up to centerstage: pickleball’s growth has been dramatic.  Originating in the 1960s, this ingenious mixture of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton currently boasts about 3.1 million players across the country. Even more indicative of pickleball’s wide-spreading popularity is the fact that the USAPA, the sport’s national governing body, has seen a staggering 620 percent increase in its membership since 2013.

VIDEO: Local playersKim Jagd, Morgan Evans, and Sherri Steinhauer share their start in the game.

But while the numbers are astounding, what fascinates Maloof more right now is the way championship week is going to feel for those involved: he can’t even begin to imagine the dream-come-true thrill players are going to experience as they take to the 45 converted courts at the Tennis Garden.

“We’ve never had an opportunity to play on a world-class venue of this caliber,” he says.

Yet while that’s the case for most of the contenders at the National Championships, who’ll be traveling from all over the country to Indian Wells, the Greater Palm Springs pickleballers already get to enjoy the splendid setting at Indian Wells.  Introduced at the facility just over a year ago by far-sighted IWTG Club Director Fred Hartzman, pickleball now occupies a handful of re-purposed courts every Wednesday evening, plus Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“We went from four players that first session,” says Hartzman, disbelievingly, “to about 140, in a couple of weeks. And now the Nationals! It’s just been amazing.”

On a recent Wednesday evening, Cheryl Bowling and Linda Philips were two of the local players on hand. Cheryl, who has been playing a year or so, described the sport as “very addictive.”

“It’s the most fun sport I’ve ever played,” she said. “And most of the country clubs in the Coachella Valley are really getting into it, so there are lots of opportunities to play.”

Phillips, who came to the sport with a tennis-playing background and has also been playing for about a year, described pickleball’s attraction this way: “It’s a little easier on your body, because there isn’t as much running around. And there’s an easier learning curve.”

Both Bowling and Philips, who usually participate in doubles and mixed-doubles matches, advised anyone interested in joining the local ranks to look for an introductory clinic or instruction session, which are available at such venues as the Palm Desert Community Center and Gymnasium, where indoor pickleball is scheduled three days a week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There were around 30 or so fellow players out on the courts with Bowling and Philips that night, and while the two women acknowledged that their own games aren’t yet ready for nationals-level competition, many others who were in attendance will participate.

The tournament will start early each morning featuring singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles matches, across many skill-graded categories and age-group brackets from teens to the over-80s.  Supplementing the on-court competition will be exhibitions and instruction. Best of all for spectators, entry to the IWTG grounds is free, and there will be a variety of dining and entertainment options. There will be a charge for parking  and a fee for attending matches on the main championship court.   

For news and details about the 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, visit


20-feet wide by 44-feet long. Net 34 inches at the center, 36 inches at the sideline posts. The “kitchen” is the seven-foot area immediately in front of the net; if you’re in the kitchen, you can’t volley (that is, no “spiking” from up close). Singles and doubles played on the same lined court – no doubles alley.


Paddle – there are approximately 80 different models available. Ball – plastic “whiffle” ball, the size of a tennis ball and perforated with 40 holes; indoor and outdoor varieties to choose from.


Underhand serve across net on tennis-like diagonal. Hit ball after it bounces. After three such bounced strokes, but not before, ball can be volleyed out of the air.


Only serving player/team can score. Game to 11, must win by two. Two out of three games wins match.


There are several accounts of how the sport was named. Here’s our favorite: when the founding inventors began playing their first games, in the driveway of a home on an island in Washington State back in the 1960s, they tired of having to retrieve errant shots and enlisted the family dog to do the fetching. Pickles the dog was happy to oblige, and that enthusiastic service to the sport’s beginnings will be remembered for as long as pickleball is played.

Art On Main Street - Save the Dates!

  8 Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm: November 10th & 24th, January 5th & 19th, February 2nd & 16th, March 16th and April 6th

8 Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm:
November 10th & 24th, January 5th & 19th, February 2nd & 16th, March 16th and April 6th

We’re excited to welcome over 100 returning and new artists to our 2018-19 season of Art on Main Street.

Shows will feature contemporary paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, mixed media, sculpture, glass, textiles and more. Enjoy live music and great dining. Come for the art, stay for the day! Premier Sponsor, City of La Quinta.
Free admission & parking.

78100 Main Street

Courtesy of Old Town La Quinta

First Thursday November 1st


Barry Minniefield from The Voice is opening our second season of First Thursdays!

Barry was chosen from 100,000 contestants for his extraordinary rendition of “Me and Mrs. Jones” on the TV hit, The Voice. He also sang “Feelin’ Alright” in the Battle Ground competition, and “What I Would Do for Love” in the Knock-Out rounds.

Barry’s role models in music include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Liza Minnelli, Sarah Vaughn and Stevie Wonder. Blake Shelton remarked that Barry’s voice is “larger than life” and Pharrell stated that Barry’s singing has the “soulful essence” reminiscent of the great soul singers.

Enjoy Barry’s live, outdoor concert, extended happy hours, great people watching, olive oil tastings, shopping and al fresco dining at Solano’s Bistro, The Grill on Main, Old Town Tavern, and Stuft Pizza Bar & Grille.

Sponsors: City of La Quinta & One West Bank

78100 Main Street, Old Town La Quinta Free parking & admission

Courtesy of Old Town La Quinta

La Quinta Farmers' Market Is Back!

  Sunday Brunches, New Cooking & Sustainable Art Demos Sundays, October 7, 14, 21 & 28 8 am to 12:30 pm

Sunday Brunches, New Cooking & Sustainable Art Demos
Sundays, October 7, 14, 21 & 28 8 am to 12:30 pm

Another season of delicious begins on Main Street with the fall re-opening of the Certified Farmers’ Market on Sunday, October 7th. Everything residents and visitors have come to appreciate will be on festive display: The peak-of-ripeness produce, local artisan-prepared food vendors, fresh flowers and live music.

NEW – Chef Anthony Cruz presents a Pop-Up Vegan Picnic with a short menu and how-to tips for people who want to integrate plant-based recipes into their rotation of crowd-pleasing party dishes. Sunday, October 7th, 10 a.m. to Noon

NEW – High Desert Artist Kellie Pellegrini of Upcycle CraftWorks will share her vision for sustainable, visual art. Kellie will discuss her methodology and material sourcing while creating a work in real time at the Market. Sunday, October 28th.

Enjoy a farmer-fresh Sunday brunch at Solano’s or The Grill on Main complete with
mimosas or a bloody Mary. Cheers!

Courtesy of Old Town La Quinta