INDIO, Calif. - The 72nd annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio will kicked off 10 days of fun with a Friday morning opening ceremony and discounted entry for the first 2,000 guests.
Tickets throughout the fair are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors and $9 for youth (kids ages 6 through 12). Children 5 and under get in free, along with veterans plus three guests with proper identification.
However, Friday's Opening Day admission was $5. Free midweek return tickets were given out to the first 2,000 fairgoers who entered Gate 1 on Opening Day.
Opening ceremony festivities included a ribbon cutting ceremony for the addition of a new 80-foot flag pole at the fairgrounds, attended by Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez and members of the Fair Board.
Perez said he had "great memories of growing up with the Date Festival, a family tradition for as long as I can remember."
The fair will feature musical performances from War on Friday, platinum-selling country star Chase Rice performing Saturday, Los Rieleros Del Norte on Sunday, Lou Gramm, founding member of Foreigner performing on Saturday, Feb. 24 and Superfiesta on Sunday, Feb. 25.
Local veteran Edward G. Johnson, a Vietnam veteran who helped bring the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall to Desert Hot Springs, will be honored during a special presentation.
Other attractions include the President's Day Parade through downtown Indio, the Arabian Nights Musical Pageant, performances by the award winning Cook Islands Polynesian Dance Show, and the crowning of Queen Scheherazade.
The carnival rides will return, as well as the fifth straight year of animal adoptions hosted by the Riverside County Department of Animal Service, which has resulted in 922 adoptions since its inclusion with the fair.
For tickets and more information, visit www.datefest.org.