National Date Festival and Riverside County Fair comes to Indio in February

Courtesy photo

A few weeks away, the 2018 Queen Scherazade will sway to the takht and quan, a priest will bless the date harvest and camels and ostriches will race at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Feb.16-25, in Indio.

The unique festival of dates will bring hundreds of students from Riverside County to the warmer weather in Indio to show off their pet projects in animal husbandry, landscaping, photography, art, inventions and farming, including local 4-H Club members from Anza and the valleys.

The annual fair and national date festival, located at 82-503 State Route 111 in Indio, promises to provide another star-studded entertainment performance venue that is sure to please everyone, including the traditional nightly Queen Scherazade Musical Pageant and daily camel and ostrich races.

Headlining this years’ entertainment venue is “War,” the popular groove musical group, which is back by popular demand. War will take the stage on opening night, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, with “Why can’t we be friends,” “Slippin’ into Darkness” and “Low Rider.”

Country music fans will be waving their hats, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, with platinum award-winning county star Chase Rice. Rice released his highly anticipated sophomore album, “Lions and Lambs,” in November with his song “Three Chords and the Truth” currently climbing in the Top 40 Country charts.

Los Rieieros Del Norte will perform 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. One of the oldest norteno bands, they will perform many of their hits, including “El Columpio,” “Te Quiero Mucho” and “Amor Prohibido.” The group’s songs often sit at the top of Billboards’ Top Mexican songs chart.

Founding member of the group “Foreigner,” Lou Gramm with band Foghat will take the stage, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Gramm is one of the most successful rock vocalists of the late 1970s and one of Billboards’ Top 100 Artists of All Time for Foreigner hit songs “Slow Ride,” “Fool for the City” and “Third Time Lucky.” Foghat has earned eight gold records, one platinum and one double-platinum record.

The last day of the fair, Sunday, Feb. 25, “Super Fiesta” will pack the house with excitement, performing in the Fantasy Springs Concert Pavilion, 3 p.m., with Los Tequileros de Ramon Jimenez, Banda Pachuco and Carmen Jara.

There will be dozens of other special events and displays open to the fairgoers, including vendors of all types, presentations for cooking with dates, local fruit and vegetable displays, a nightly salute to America, the blessing of the dates and animals, livestock auction, Humpz and Hornz Bull Riding, monster truck races, afternoon Outlaw Sprints, music scholarship winners, Santana and other tribute bands, steel drums and of course, lots of carnival fun and rides.

The Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival is presented by Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. The gates will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Monday and noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Tickets may be purchased early: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for youth, $8 each for group tickets or bus tours with a minimum of 25 guests and $22 for unlimited carnival ride wristbands. For more information, call (800) 811-3247 or visit www.datefest.org to buy and print fair tickets at home.

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