California Festivals

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National Date Festival & Riverside County Fair

February 15-24, 2019 | President's Day Parade February 18, 2019, 9 a.m.

Riverside County Fairgrounds
82-503 Hwy 111
Indio, CA 92201
(800) 811-FAIR
$10, season pass $25, datefest.org
Parking $10-15
Friday-Monday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday 12-10 p.m.
Weekends Carnival 10 a.m. - 12 a.m. midnight

Entertainment

Indio Date Festival and Riverside County Fair celebrates the desert's favorite crop, dates. You'll also see Llamas, Dairy Goats, Poultry; Camel & Ostrich Races; WGAS Motorsports Monster Trucks, concerts, contests, games, food, and a carnival with midway action. It's one of the best fairs in California because of its location and "date".

Friday 
Opening Ceremony & Blessing of the Dates at 9:30am

Annual Attractions
Hedrick's Hedrick's Camel & Ostrich Races daily
Salute to America 6 p.m. daily
Arabian Nights Pageant 6:30 p.m. daily
Amateur Date Recipe Contest at  Taj Mahal   2 p.m.
Cooking with Dates 
Humpz & Hornz Bull Riding 5 p.m. Grandstand Arena
 Monster Trucks 
Junior Outlaw Sprints & Mini Dwarfs Racing Feb.18, 2018
Livestock Auction at Livestock Pavilion Feb.24, 2018, 10 a.m.
Carnival Rides daily
Petting zoo, Marvelous Mutts, Rainforest daily

Monday 
President's Day Parade at 9 a.m.

It's a festival- no, it's a fair. It's both! Known far and wide as the one event in California to celebrate distant lands, the Indio Date Festival is held in honor of the region's top producer, dates. Restaurants drive to the desert to purchase date paste for their shakes served in Greek restaurants, smoothie bars, and old-time California drink & dine shacks.

What's special about this Date Festival event isn't just the fact that it also is the Riverside County Fair (held at the Fairgrounds,) but the entertainment includes blessing of the dates, and award-winning Arabian Nights Musical Pageant each year on the Pageant Stage. An entertaining show that mingles contemporary humor with classic folklore, magic and mystery are at the heart of "Aladdin and the Heart of Agrabah". And the queen of the fair-- she is Queen Sheherazade and she comes with a Court!

The Date Festival and Fair began in 1921 and developed an international theme that includes annual Camel Races.

In addition to the pageantry, there is plenty of traditional fair celebrating in the California desert. Indio is located in the located in the Colorado Desert 125 miles east of Los Angeles. It is also east of Palm Springs and for anyone who's visited Southern California, you know that the desert regions get smoking hot in the summer. That's why fairs and festivals are held in the spring or late fall & winter.

The Coachella Valley destination of Southern California known for dates, enjoys a huge attendance at the fair event. Beach and mountain dwellers grow weary of the the cold, and head for the desert to get a taste of sunshine and warm shirt sleeve weather during the finest month ever--February. Indio has over 100 days per year of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit temperatures but in February the average temperature is around 75 degrees.

Whether visiting Northern California's Cloverdale Citrus Fair this weekend to eat some oranges and sip refreshing orange drinks, or Southern California's Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival to sample dates, date shakes and other delicious fruit cuisine, you'll enjoy the carnival atmosphere, as both events will feature midways, fairs, games and carnival rides.

But the Date Festival is really a unique, one-of-a-kind California event based on a desert theme. Camel and ostrich races, Queen Scheherazade and her court, and an Arabian Nights Musical Pageant are annual traditions to this event that enjoys warm days & nights and nearly always sunshine in February. The daytime temperature is expected to range between 70 and 77 degrees during the event. The usual monster trucks, rodeo, farm competitions and great shows are all there.

Where: Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is held at Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82-503 Hwy 111, Indio, CA 92201

Other Indio festivals include the Coachella Music Festival, usually in April.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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