Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, California

My husband and I really had a great time at the Riverside County Fair/National Date Festival in Indio, a town based in southern California's Coachella Valley.

This region is one of the largest date-producing areas in the United States. The fun-filled annual event is held in February at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, which includes lots of date palms that add an Arabian Nights-like atmosphere to the festivities.

The 10-day festival is packed with unusual activities. We attended for 2 days and still didn't see everything we wanted to. But we did see camel and ostrich races… sample a wide variety of dates… enjoy a date shake (it's yummy!)… watch a camel-milking demonstration (the milk is used only for research purposes)… and learn about cooking with dates.

We also enjoyed lots of musical entertainment. Indio hosts other festivals, too; we plan to return to see if they're as much fun as this one!

Indio is on I-10, just southwest of Joshua Tree National Park and roughly 25 miles southeast of Palm Springs in southern California. The festival starts 10 days before the last Sunday in February (that's February 17-26 in 2006).

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