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Date Festival's opening weekend draws more than 100K guests

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Attendance topped 100,000 for the opening weekend of the 72nd annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio, the county announced.

The fair, which continues through Feb. 25, opened Friday morning with the dedication of an 80-foot-tall flagpole at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, where the festival is held.

A tad under 107,000 festivalgoers have attended the celebration since then, according to county officials. Other festivities during opening weekend included Monday's Presidents Day Parade through downtown Indio and concerts by WAR and Chase Rice.

As of midday Tuesday, 88 dogs have found new homes via the fair, where the Riverside County Department of Animal Services is offering $40 adoptions. The adoption fee includes vaccinations and a microchip for the dogs, who are already spayed or neutered.

Fair festivities yet to come include musical performances from Lou Gramm, founding member of Foreigner, and Super Fiesta.

Desert Hot Springs resident and veteran Edward G. Johnson will be honored during a special ceremony on Thursday. In 2011, Johnson raised $10,000 to bring to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Moving Wall to Desert Hot Springs for the first time. The wall made a second visit to the city last June.

On Wednesday, attendees can get into the fair for free by bringing in used electronic recyclables to either the fair's main gate or Gate 6. The Riverside County Department of Waste Resources will accept items such as cell phones, telephones, tablets, radios, DVD players/recorders, receivers, ink cartridges
and computer peripherals such as a mouse, keyboard, driver or reader. Business waste, automotive batteries, single-use alkaline batteries and lead-acid batteries will not be accepted, nor will other household hazardous wastes.

Fair tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors 55 and older and $9 for kids ages 6 through 12. Children 5 and under get in free, along with veterans with proper identification, who can bring along three guests.

For tickets and more information, visit www.datefest.org .


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