Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival cancels 2021 event

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Diane Sieker photo

INDIO – The 2021 Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, set for Feb. 12-21, has been canceled to resume in 2022 with a 75th year celebration, provided the coronavirus pandemic has ended. In addition, the Queen Scheherazade Scholarship Pageant, scheduled for November 2020, is also being canceled. Queen Scheherazade and her court act as goodwill ambassadors leading up to and during the fair in February.

The ongoing pandemic has caused the cancellation of all scheduled events on the fairgrounds since the middle of March. With Riverside County Public Health planning to keep the federal medical station in place until the end of the calendar year, staff is unable to properly plan and execute the fair,officials said.

“The Riverside County Fairgrounds are known not only as the home of our beloved Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, but as a focal point and safe haven for the community when it comes to accessing health care and, today, they are being utilized in another health care mission to help us overcome the coronavirus,” V. Manuel Perez, chair of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, said. “It is rare that we cancel this fair, but we know the tradition is so strong and special for many families, including mine, that we can look forward to its return after we complete this mission.”

Lupe Ramos-Amith, chair of the Riverside County Fair Advisory Board, said, “It was a difficult decision to cancel, but with the uncertainty of how long the fairgrounds will be used as a testing center and back up hospital, it was one that had to be made. We look forward to seeing everyone for our 75th anniversary.”

The county will look for other ways to celebrate the fair’s 75th anniversary in 2021, which may include a virtual celebration.

The Riverside County Fairgrounds will also continue to serve as one of the county’s COVID-19 testing locations. The testing is open to anyone, with or without symptoms. To schedule an appointment, call 800-945-6171 or visit http://rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing.

Submitted by Riverside County.