Benoit to Open the 67th Annual Date Festival Friday
INDIO – Supervisor John J. Benoit will welcome fairgoers at Friday’s opening of the 67th 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.). The Shadow Hills High School chamber singers will sing the national anthem.
“The Date Festival is a great occasion for people around the valley and across Southern California 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 fifth 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. Last year was a record success, with 315,007 visitors.
Supervisor Benoit will also ride in Monday’s 9 a.m. President’s Day Grand Parade, which will be led by grand marshal Timothy Bradley, boxing champion and Coachella Valley native.
At 5 p.m. Friday at the Grandstand Arena, Benoit’s Fourth District Youth Advisory Council will coordinate the 2013 High School Competition. Teams from Banning, Cathedral City, Coachella Valley, Desert Mirage, La Quinta and Palm Desert high schools 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, Feb. 18, at Aladdin’s Bazaar Stage, the Youth Advisory Council will also coordinate the popular Battle of the Bands competition. Seven Riverside County bands – Burning Bettie (Cathedral City), Drop the World (Palm Springs), The Morning After (Palm Springs), R Buckle Road (Bermuda Dunes), Tacky Little Hatshop (Temecula), Tribe-O (Coachella) and Truth & the Lies (Homeland) – will compete for top-of-the-line Fender equipment.
In recognition of the county’s special relationship with Canada, Tuesday, Feb. 19 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). Last year’s inaugural Canada Day brought 1,850 Canadians to the Fair.
The 67th Annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival will run from Friday through Feb. 24. Admission prices and ticket purchasing information can be found at www.datefest.org.