The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival — featuring rides, food and musical entertainment — returned Friday to Indio after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes and deep-fried Twinkies are among the classic fair foods that will be available throughout the festivities, which began at 3 p.m. Friday and will continue from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Feb. 26, according festival organizers.
Admission tickets are available $15 for adults, $12 for kids and $13 for seniors at the gate. Season passes are available for $30 online, and carnival wristbands are available up to $37 at datefest.org/p/tickets–deals. Children 5 and under get in free, along with veterans plus three guests with proper identification.
Admission includes access to several shows including the Sea Lion Splash, Balloonacy, BMX Stunts, Pirate Ship, Pig Races, Hypnotist, The Wilder and Aladdin.
Other attractions scheduled throughout the 10-day date festival include the Presidents Day Grand Parade through downtown Indio, the Arabian Nights Musical Pageant, a Demo Derby, a ProRodeo, petting zoos, pop-up shops and exhibits.
The parade will be held Monday at 9 a.m., starting at the intersection of Miles Avenue and Deglet Noor Street, festival officials said. It will feature school marching bands, charros, dance groups, classic cars and the grand marshal, the Coachella Valley Firebirds mascot, Fuego.
“With the brand new Acrisure Arena in the heart of the Coachella Valley, we have a team to unite behind, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the first professional hockey team in Riverside County,” Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said. “Fuego is an ambassador for the Firebirds and also for our community, representing the nine Coachella Valley cities, unincorporated communities and Riverside County as a whole.”
Firebirds team President Steve Fraser will ride alongside Fuego in the parade, according to Perez.
The floats will continue east to Oasis Street from Miles Avenue, with the parade ending inside the fairgrounds, according to Perez.
Musical performances over the two weekends will begin Saturday with a Tejano Fest, followed by Pancho Barraza Sunday. Flo Rida, The Fray, Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez and a Rock Fest are scheduled for the closing weekend.
For tickets and more information, go to www.datefest.org.