Benoit to Open the 68th Annual Date Festival Friday
INDIO – Supervisor John J. Benoit will welcome fairgoers at the opening of the 68th Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14.
The traditional opening and blessing of the dates ceremony will be held at gate 1 of the Fairgrounds in Indio (82-503 Highway 111). 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. “We welcome Riverside County veterans who will have their service to our country honored with free admission to the fair. There are many special promotions and exciting performances that promise to make this fair another unforgettable experience!”
One of Riverside County’s premier contributions to the community and local economy, the Date Festival will run from Friday through Feb. 23. For the sixth 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.
Veterans and up to three of their guests can pick a day to enjoy the fair for free as part of the county’s VALOR program to honor the brave men and women who fought to defend our country.
Veterans will need to present valid proof of military service and residence in Riverside County. The following are authorized for use as proof of military service: a Military Identification Card, DD 214, NGB Form 22 or honorable discharge certificate and Veterans Military Service Organization Membership cards, with photo ID.
Monday, Feb. 17 will be Veterans’ Appreciation Day with the annual President’s Day grand parade at 9 a.m., which will be led by grand marshal Lt. Gen. Herbert R. Temple Jr., a Korean War veteran and Palm Desert resident. Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will also perform that night for a salute to the troops.
In recognition of the county’s special relationship with Canada, Tuesday, Feb. 18 will be the third annual Canada Day at the fair. All Canadian residents will be admitted for free with proof of residence (valid passport, license or identification card).
At 5 p.m. Friday at the Grandstand Arena, Benoit’s Fourth District Youth Advisory Council will coordinate the 2014 High School Competition. Teams from Cathedral City, Desert Mirage, La Quinta and Palm Desert high schools will compete in a series of fun 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. 17, at Aladdin’s Bazaar Stage, the Youth Advisory Council will also coordinate the popular Battle of the Bands competition. Seven Riverside County bands – Eevan Tre’ & The Show (Coachella), The Hive Minds (Palm Desert), The Rebel Noise (Palm Springs), Bacteria Cosmica (Indio), Truth and The Lies (Riverside), Wyldsky (La Quinta) and The End Return (Temecula) – will compete for top-of-the-line Fender equipment.
Details on concerts, admission prices and ticket purchasing information can be found at www.datefest.org.