Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival is Free to Veterans, First Responders

RivCo Fair Free to Veterans, First Responders

Chris Pickering, middle, from his 2012/13 deployment. Photo courtesy of Chris Pickering.

INDIO —When the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival opens today, Veterans and first responders will get in free, courtesy of Pickering Events LLC.

“By the very nature of their volunteer service, veterans have missed countless holidays, weekends, and birthdays. The Fair & Date Fest provides an opportunity for veterans to celebrate, together with their family, friends, and community,” Chris Pickering, a Veteran and CEO of Pickering Events, told Uken Report.

The 76th Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival opens today, Friday, Feb. 16 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 25.  Free tickets for veterans and first responders can be secured by registering online at www.vettix.org or www.1sttix.org.

This is Pickering Events’ second year in a partnership with Riverside County to operate the Fair and the Fairgrounds on a year-round basis.

Gates to the 76th Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival open following the blessing of the dates ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at Gate 1 of the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, 82‑503 Highway 111.

The ceremony will take place in front of the Fair’s brand-new digital marquee, part of a $2 million project to bring beautification and upgrades to improve the Fair experience and the opportunity for more year-round entertainment and community events at the Fairgrounds.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said he looks forward to welcoming fairgoers.

“Growing up in Coachella, and coming to the Fair all the time, every year with my family and friends, and continuing the tradition later on with my family, the Fair has always been fun,” Perez said in a statement. “We are always continuing to build off of each Fair and, working with Pickering Events, there has been a lot of work done to make this even better and start another 75 years here. It should be a fun time.”

Newly completed improvements include restroom improvements, fresh paint on the barn, installation of new decorative fencing, and a new digital signboard along with landscaping upgrades to the entrance fronting Highway 111.

The work was paid for with $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money dedicated by Perez and the Board of Supervisors, and $1 million coming from funds from the Riverside County Facilities Management Department and revenue sharing with the operator, Pickering Events LLC to bring reinvestment to the Fairgrounds.

“We are thrilled to welcome guests to this newly reimagined Fairgrounds,” Pickering said. “Through collaboration with the County and community partners, this event center has transformed into a vibrant cultural hub. The Fair & Date Fest celebrates the very best Riverside County has to offer.”

Monday, Feb. 19 is the annual President’s Day Grand Parade, featuring Grand Marshal Douglas Welmas, Chairman for the Cabazon Band of Cahuilla Indians. The parade steps off at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Miles Avenue and Deglet Noor Street in downtown Indio.

Information on special promotions, fair events and ticket prices can be found at www.datefest.org.


Image Sources

  • chris pickering_deployment: Chris Pickering
  • Riverside County Fair: Shutterstock