68th Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival wows crowds

68th Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival wows crowds

INDIO, Calif. - "We're coming together as a county as well as families and friends and it's just a great time for everybody," said Makenna McIntyre, also known as this year's Queen Scheherazade. 

The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is back and for many locals it couldn't come soon enough.  

"Every year it's a tradition for us to come to the fair," said Sofia Campos, who came with her sister and friends.

"The vibe and the energy that you get from it, it's just a good experience," said Gerardo Cortez, who attends each year with his friends.

Sixty-eight years ago, when the festival started, it marked the end of the annual date harvest in the valley.  And one thing you won't be able to miss at the fair is the famous fruit, served in every way imaginable.

"There's date shakes, there's date chefs that come in and incorporate dates into all their meals. There's a lot about dates here you can buy dates you can buy things with dates in them," McIntyre said.

But if dates aren't your thing, there's no shortage of other things to delight your palette.

"The funnel cakes are the best, they have a lot of good barbecues," Cortez said.

"The lemonade is really good as well," Campos said.

And after you check out all the rides, don't forget to stop by the animal exhibits where you can do everything from ride a camel to watch an ostrich race.  

"All these animals are so exciting and fun to see," McIntyre said.

You can also meet 6-week-old baby tiger Titan and have your picture taken with him.

And all these little things the fair has to offer add up in a big way:

"It's about $36 million what the economic impact is for the Coachella Valley. Just with all the workers that come in, carnival rides, everything that's giving back to the community," said Veronica Casper, assistant fair manager. 

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