Riverside County Fair: Summer in Wintertime

The National Date Festival is also a part of the February party.


SALADS OR PIZZAS... or appetizers or casseroles or cookies or cakes: Everything is enhanced, in edible-incredible fashion, by the chewy-sweetness of a date. How many dates you sprinkle onto a dish is up to you, and whether they're fresh, or dried, or doused in some fine sugar, will also impact the impact that the dish delivers. But the fact of the meal-based matter is the date, like nuts, is a timeless addition that can bring song to both dessert-like treats and savory entrees. That's not an easy thing, nor can every fruit claim such a wide scope, which all leads to this: Of course the date deserves its own annual festival, and one with "national" in the name. And, of course, part deux, such a festival should also fold in with a major county fair, and an unusual county fair, given that it falls in the wintertime (something that's rare for this sort of summer-weather event). You're in luck, date devotees, if you dig both fruit and fair, for the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival are both returning, as they do each year, in the middle of February. The 2017 dates are...

FEB. 17 THROUGH 26, and once again Indio will twinkle with a major midway, and food competitions, and rodeo action, and concerts (The Eli Young Band, Voz de Mando, Cheap Trick, and WAR are all on the 2017 schedule). A Superhero 5K Run/Walk will see a fluttering of capes, and a Presidents Day Parade will honor the holiday. As for date deliciousness? It's all around, so prepare to sip a shake, or snack upon some bread, if those are your pleasures. And if your pleasure is finding a slice of summertime weeks ahead of spring actually arriving, wending for Riverside over the second half of February is a time-honored way to locate the season, even when it is out of season.

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