2020 Riverside County Date Fair & National Date Festival dives into the date, the hallmark of the Coachella Valley’s farming culture. Akin to what Mid-Century Modern architecture means to the Greater Palm Springs Area’s real estate realm, the date is synonymous with the Coachella Valley. These delicious fruits are a product of the date palm, which comprises a big portion of the Southern California desert’s agricultural industry.
Get a taste of the delectable date, and the Coachella Valley’s rich culture, at the 2020 Riverside County Date Fair & National Date Festival, taking place February 14-23 at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio. This event offers fun for the whole family, including nightly entertainment from renowned music artists to monster trucks, demolition derby, and a recurring Arabian Nights musical. All the live entertainment is paired with carnival rides, a livestock fair, rodeo, food, and craft vendors.
The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival started as a celebration for the end of the annual date harvest in the Coachella Valley. The event today remains true to those agricultural roots as well as an Arabian Nights theme developed decades ago and is still represented by nightly pageants. So in addition to fair favorites like animal exhibits and monster truck rallies, you’ll also be able to enjoy Camel and Ostrich Races and cooking demonstrations featuring dates. Musical entertainment and carnival rides add to the appeal of this diverse county fair.
Dates were an unknown commodity in the valley until 1903 when date palms were transplanted here from Algeria. By the early 1920’s, enough acreage was planted to make dates a major crop for the area. In fact, the date industry represented Riverside County at the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco. Date groves in the Coachella Valley were such a novelty that they became quite a tourist attraction.
With the popularity of the date gardens, the idea was planted for a date festival to be held in Indio City Park in 1921. The heavily publicized International Festival of Dates was promoted with an Arabian theme, a reference to the ancestral homeland of the date. A second festival was held the following year, but the interest for an annual fair waned. Instead, date agriculturalists promoted the crop at events such as the Southern California Fair in Riverside, the California State Fair and the Golden Gate International Exposition.
Today, the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival remains an integral part of the greater Coachella Valley community and a major tourist attraction. It continues the legacy of decades-old desert traditions while celebrating the desert’s history and community, and of course, providing enjoyment fo the whole family.
For the full schedule of daily entertainment, as well as to purchase tickets, check out the 2020 Riverside County Date Fair & National Date Festival website.