INDIO (CNS) – The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival — which featured rides, food and musical entertainment — had a record-breaking return to Indio after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Monday.
“The community came together to celebrate the very best in Riverside County for the first time since 2020 with Blue Ribbon competitions, community performances, and date-laden treats,” said principal partner of Pickering Events LLC., the Fairgrounds’ new operator, Chris Pickering in a statement. “This year marked the return of the Fair & Date Fest; future years will see its growth.”
The festival, which was held from Feb. 17 to Feb. 26, experienced three days of record-breaking riders in over 20 years of Butler Amusements’ history with the fair, officials said. Butler Amusements is the company that provides the rides and attractions at the fairgrounds
Additionally, fair food sales including date shakes, bacon wrapped dates, milk tea with date syrup, date nut bars and more, increased by 10% since the festival was held in 2020, according to festival officials.
Even through the storms and weekend rain last week, the fair experienced an impressive amount of attendees in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers, festival officials said.
The Junior Livestock Auction, a returning tradition, raised over $248,000 benefiting local youth who sold 187 project animals Saturday. New this year, $24,000 in scholarships were awarded to 14 graduating high school students within the county through a partnership between Pickering Events, Butler Amusements and The Bailey-Findley Foundation, according to festival officials.
“The tremendous turnout for the Date Festival is a testament to how important this event is to our community,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez in a statement. “Pickering Events did a great job producing the festival for the first time which offered something for everyone reflecting the diversity of our Coachella Valley. We are so pleased to be a partner with them.”
The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival will return next year on Feb. 16.
Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.