Benoit to Open the 66th Annual Date Festival Friday
INDIO – Supervisor John J. Benoit will welcome fairgoers at Friday’s opening of the 66th Annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. The traditional Opening and Blessing of the Dates ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. at gate 1 of the Fairgrounds in Indio (46-350 Arabia St.). Local recording artist Deborah Liv Johnson will sing the national anthem.
“The Date Festival is a great occasion for people around the valley, and across the county, to come together for a good time,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “If you’ve already enjoyed this annual attraction, this fair promises to be another unforgettable experience. If this is your first visit to the fair, consider it an opportunity to start a new family tradition!”
For the fourth year in a row, the fair will give back to the community by providing free admission on opening day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
One of Riverside County’s premier contributions to the community and local economy, the fair attracts more than 300,000 visitors. The county has finished $2.1 million in improvements to maximize accessibility at the Fairgrounds for individuals with disabilities as well as the elderly and families with strollers.
Supervisor Benoit will also ride in Monday’s 10 a.m. President’s Day Grand Parade, which will be led by the grand marshal, actor William Devane.
At 5 p.m. Friday at the Grandstand Arena, Benoit’s Fourth District Youth Advisory Council will coordinate the Coachella Valley High School Competition. Teams from Cathedral City High School, Desert Mirage High School, La Quinta High School and Palm Desert High School will compete in a series of fun academic and athletic contests. The winning team will receive the Date Cup trophy, to be displayed at school for one year as well as return tickets to the fair.
From noon to 4 p.m. Monday at the Magic Carpet Stage, the Youth Advisory Council will also coordinate the popular Battle of the Bands competition. Seven Riverside County bands – Campaigning for Zeros (Coachella), Fly By Night (Temecula), One11 (La Quinta), Over The Wall (Palm Desert), Roadside Ghost (Riverside), Rotten Rooster (Palm Desert) and The Purple Gang (Palm Desert) – will compete for top-of-the-line Fender equipment.
In recognition of the county’s agreement with the Canada California Business Council, Thursday, Feb. 23 will be Canada Day at the Fair. All Canadian residents will be admitted into the Fair for free that special day with proof of residency (valid passport, license or identification card).
The 66th Annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival will run from Friday through Feb. 26. Admission prices and ticket purchasing information can be found at www.datefest.org.