Riverside County is a haven for travelers that covers more than 7,200 square miles of Southern California. You’ll find plenty of great destinations for your next California excursion here with warm temperatures year-round, unique community festivals, and enough attractions to fill multiple trips.
The Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival has been a staple in Riverside County for over seven decades. It’s a ten-day event that attracts over 300,000 people to the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio. Kids will love the carnival rides, games, and special daily activities. Adults can partake in everything from music concerts to monster truck shows. On Presidents Day, the festival puts on a parade that runs through the streets of Indio featuring floats, horses, entertainment, and more. ResortsandLodges.com got the chance to interview Kimberly Wright, Assistant Marketing Manager for Riverside County, to talk about this can't-miss fair.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KW: We are celebrating our 71st Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, but the tradition of the Date Festival first started in 1921.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KW: We average around 300,000 attendees per year.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?
KW: A large portion of the fairgoers are families, many of which are multiple generations enjoying the fair together. Young couples tend to show up for the romantic and fun fair atmosphere in the evening.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KW: We celebrate the local harvest of dates with many of our locally grown fruits available for purchase as well as educational exhibits about the date industry in Riverside County. The Arabian-themed buildings on the grounds point to the traditions and origin of the date fruit that were transplanted from the Middle East to Coachella Valley in the early 1900’s. Tying into the Arabian theme, the beloved Nightly Musical Pageant is a live performance of song and dance based on the fascinating tales of the 1,001 Arabian nights folklore, with a modern twist. The fair also features a cooking show that showcases great date recipes. Camel & Ostrich Races have been a fair favorite for decades. The Riverside County Fair also marks the first fair of the year for the State of California.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
KW: Fairgoers have the opportunity to see many great shows, concerts, and activities at no additional charge. Shows include Suzy Haner the Hypnotist, the Marvelous Mutts (dog stunt show), a Buddy Holly tribute band, petting zoo, Bull Riding (Feb 18), Monster Trucks (Feb 19, 20 and 25), Freestyle Motocross (Feb 20), Robosaurus (Feb 26), Demolition Derby (Feb 26), and the list goes on. See our website for more details.
RAL: Walk me through the activities attendees will encounter.
KW: There are two separate carnival areas, one with faster paced and larger rides and the other is a kid’s carnival with younger age appropriate rides and activities. The junior building will feature The Magical World of Science, which is an interactive and educational activity area for kids. You can also travel through the livestock barn and see all of the farm animals that the local school districts have been raising in their 4H programs. For a complete list of activities, please visit our website.
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options.
KW: We will have many food vendors ranging from finger licking BBQ to homemade award winning cinnamon rolls.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
KW: The Coachella Valley features many different options for lodging from historic locations in Palm Springs to modern five-star facilities.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
KW: The ten-day event has been a community tradition for several decades, and it’s ingrained into the culture of Coachella Valley. It’s something that the community looks forward to every February. We attract families, many of which who are multi-generational, and they come back consistently every year. You can tell the community loves this event and it’s exciting to see people making new memories with every new trip.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
KW: Yes, Coachella Valley benefits from the ten-day fair with an increase in tourism that helps local hotels, restaurants, and stores. The impact to the local area is somewhere around $30 million.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
KW: There are many different ways that the fair positively impacts the community. We offer local non-profits the chance to sell advanced admission tickets. For every ticket they sell, we give back a portion of the sale back right back to the their organization.
Our Queen Scheherazade Scholarship Pageant and Magic Carpet Music Scholarship competition honor outstanding scholastic and musical efforts of local students and award them with scholarships for college.
The fair has teamed up with the Riverside County Department of Animal Services to bring animal adoptions onsite. In the last three years, we have seen over 600 pets placed in loving homes.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KW: The Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival is a unique fair with a great history and a tie to Middle Eastern culture. The fair offers different opportunities to create memorable experiences such as watching major music acts or seeing a jockey ride an ostrich.
For more information about the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, please visit their website.