Perez to Open the 72nd Annual Date Festival Friday
INDIO – Supervisor V. Manuel Perez will welcome fairgoers and dedicate a new flagpole on the opening day of the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival on Friday, Feb. 16.
The opening day ceremony and blessing of the dates will be held at 9:30 a.m. at gate 1 of the Fairgrounds in Indio, 82-503 Highway 111. After the gates open, Supervisor Perez will lead a brief dedication ceremony for the fair’s new U.S. flagpole at 10:30 a.m.
“I have great memories growing up with the Date Festival, a family tradition for as long as I can remember,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “With fantastic food, amazing concerts, carnival rides, and features of our date-growing heritage that make Riverside County’s fair like none other, there’s something for all our visitors to enjoy. We are proud to have a new flagpole to honor our country, and free admission every day for veterans in appreciation of their service. I am excited to kick off ten days of fun and unforgettable experiences!”
The 72nd Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival will run from Friday through Feb. 25. Opening day admission is $5. Veterans plus three guests are admitted free every day with proper identification.
Following the opening ceremony, Supervisor Perez invites people to the flag raising ceremony for the fair’s new flagpole at the courtyard in front of the Taj Mahal building. The 80 foot flagpole, which was part of the former County Administrative Center in Indio, will be a permanent fixture near the center of the Fairgrounds.
Supervisor Perez and his wife, Gladis, will ride in the annual President’s Day grand parade, which starts at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 19. The parade will be led by grand marshals: World Amateur Champion Boxer Citlalli Ortiz, and “Godfather of Local Boxing” Lee Espinoza. Ortiz, a Coachella Valley High School senior, recently took gold in the 2017 AIBA Women’s Youth Boxing World Championship in India, and is vying to represent the U.S. in the 2020 Olympics. Espinoza, founder of the Lee Espinoza Boxing Club in Coachella, has trained boxers for 38 years.
On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Fair will celebrate Veterans’ Appreciation Day. A ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on the pageant stage will honor Edward G. Johnson, Purple Heart Combat Wounded Vietnam veteran.
This year’s entertainment includes live concerts by War, Chase Rice, Los Rieleros del Norte, Lou Gramm with Foghat, and Los Tequileros de Ramon Jimenez with Banda Pachuco and Carmen Jara. These headliners, along with camel and ostrich races, monster trucks, demolition derby and other performances, are included with fair admission.
Information on special promotions, fair events and ticket prices can be found at www.datefest.org.