Supervisor Perez Announces New Partnership to Bring Back National Date Festival, Revitalize Fairgrounds; Announces 2023 Date Festival Date

INDIO – One of the most beloved annual events in the Coachella —the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival — will return bigger and better than ever in 2023.


Mayor Waymond Fermon

“I’m extremely excited about the Riverside County National Date Festival returning to the City of Indio in 2023 and continuing annually,” Mayor Waymond Fermon told Uken Report. “Riverside County National Date Festival celebrates Indio’s traditions of being the Date Capital of the World and The City of Festivals. From the Presidents Day Parade, student exhibits, black and white photos and Future Farmers of America (FFA) with their animals, the Date Festival has been a part of Indio for 76 years. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the new operators Pickering Events LLC, Riverside County, and the Fair Board to grow the Date Festival and continue to make memories and traditions.”

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 7 approved a partnership with Pickering Events LLC to operate the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, an agreement that will bring back the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival on an annual basis, ensure the continuation of the Fair Board and bring world class events on a year-round basis as well as funding support to improve the Fairgrounds facilities.

The partnership, the result of a formal bidding process conducted by the county, will have Pickering Events LLC, an organization with deep experience with the fair and fairground industry, license and operate the Riverside County Fairgrounds and Fair for five years, starting July 1, 2022.

Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez welcomes the new partnership, an innovative model to continue the traditions of the Date Festival, bring re-investment to the Fairgrounds as a county asset, and spark the success of the Fairgrounds venue year-round.

In addition, Supervisor Perez announced that the next Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival will be held February 17-26, 2023. It will return as a full-scale event.

National Date Festival Will Return in 2023

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

“This is great for the City of Indio, the Coachella Valley and Riverside County and for the future of the National Date Festival,” Perez said in a prepared statement. “Riverside County and the Fair Board look forward to being partners with Pickering in bringing the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival back for the community, as well as attracting events to increase use of the Fairgrounds for the community and families.”

Family-owned and operated, Pickering Events LLC brings together decades of proven experience and international award-winning expertise in facility, events and fairgrounds management.

“We are excited to revitalize the Riverside County Fairgrounds post-pandemic, and to bring back the full Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival February 17-26, 2023,” said Pickering Events Senior Partner Rick Pickering. “I am also excited to embark on this journey as a family business with my three sons, Chris, Nick and Josh.”

Rick Pickering, with previous roles as CEO of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton and Deputy General Manager of the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, will also continue in his current role as CEO of the California State Fair and Exposition in Sacramento.

Pickering Events Principal Partner Chris Pickering will be the on-site operations manager at the Riverside County Fairgrounds. He most recently served as CEO of the Northwest Washington Fair Association in Lynden, WA, and both Rick and Chris have previously served as members of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

Pickering Events Principal Partner Nick Pickering, MBA, brings a background in project management. Pickering Events Principal Partner Josh Pickering has worked with top LA event production firms and managed food operations as a contractor in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District.

“The Riverside County Fairgrounds is interwoven in the lives of so many Californians,” noted Chris Pickering, a resident of Moreno Valley. “Local Coachella Valley residents and the broader community of Riverside County have both expressed a desire to open the facility to milestone life events – weddings, quinceañeras, and the like – as well as restore the traditions of the National Date Festival. We look forward to facilitating these opportunities and bringing new experiences to the Fairgrounds that invite the community to come together.”

To book an event at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, click here or call 800‑811‑FAIR.


Image Sources

  • Mayor Waymond Fermon: City of Indio
  • Supervisor V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
  • Riverside County Fair: Shutterstock