Indio, California, mid-February (Begins the Friday before Presidents Day)

July 15, 2002
Courtesy of National Date Festival

While the Riverside County Fair offers more traditional fairamusements―monster trucks, '80s pop stars―it alsodoubles as the National Date Festival. And that means attractionslike the Arabian Nights Musical Pageant, camel and ostrich races,and the crowning of Queen Scheherazade.

This celebration of all things Middle Eastern comes by way ofthe county's date industry. But the festival isn't just all fun andgames―there is also the Blessing of the Date Garden, anannual ceremony in which prayers are made for the date palms andthe safety of the workers. And at the date booths, you'll be ableto find the sweet, fiber- and vitamin-rich fruit in all sorts ofcombinations, from date shakes to dates stuffed with coconut. Lookfor more information online at