County Approves $1.6 Million In Aid For Date Festival Losses

Nico Payne

As the Riverside County Board of Supervisors held their regular meeting Tuesday, they provided an update on where we stand with Covid-19 and finances. One topic that was brought up was The Date Festival, and how it will be funded in the future.

The Date Festival that was supposed to happen in February of 2021 was pushed back, and now the question is whether it will resume in 2022 and who will fund it.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors reluctantly approved $1.6 million to cover loss this year.

“The Date Festival, I’ve kind of reached my limit on continuing to fund the date festival at such dramatic losses every year. we’ve been talking about it now for a couple of years. we really need to decide where this money is going to come from,” said Kevin Jeffries, Riverside County Board of Supervisors, District 1.

Riverside County has been exploring other ways to fund The Date Festival, which has been a staple in the community for years.

“Potentially doing something where it’s a private-public partnership if you will, or take on an initiative where potentially back in that area, and maybe even county wide, if it was so desired, some sort of facilities district if you will, or some sort of initiative that can help with the costs associated with the maintenance and operations of those fairgrounds,” said V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Board of Supervisors for District 4.

“We receive between 250,000 and 300,000 visitors throughout the 10-day run. that not only brings income to the fair but also to the local businesses. we’d like to explore what other means we can approach or explore to become self-sufficient so that the county of riverside would not have to subsidize should there be a fair or not a fair,” said Lupe Ramos Amith, Councilmember with the city of Indio.

But in the end, the question for the supervisors boils down to whether the Date Festival is a part of the future plans for the county.

“We don’t want to continue to spend money if that’s something that long term that we’re not looking at doing,” said Karen Spiegel, Riverside County Board of Supervisors, District 2.

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