Annually, the festivals in Riverside County are the largest events in California. This annual event, which takes places in the city of Indio, has much to offer the entire family. Fantastic food, exhibits, carnival rides, a midway, an arcade, camel races and exciting live entertainment. It’s a ten – day event filled with fabulous fun.
The third Date Festival was held this time under the name of Riverside County events. The festival was at that time run by the city of Indio under contract from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
The third attempt at an annual festival was a success, with almost 100 exhibition booths and attendance in excess of 5,000. The third festival took on a western themes complete with cowboy hats, and rodeo events. Also held that year was a street parade which has since become a National Date Festival staple.
In the early 40’s Riverside County bought some 40 acres of land in Indio which is the site of the present fairgrounds. Today as a result of additional land purchases by the county, including the purchase of a neighboring date grove, the fairgrounds cover about 120 acres.
After WWII the county constructed a series of Arabian themed buildings on the site. As a result of the Arabian theme of the surrounding structures the event took on an Arabic theme, complete with an Arabian night’s pageant and Queen Scheherazade contest.
Must-see Attractions in Riverside County
Today the event is visited by 70,000 people annually. Some of the special attractions and events that comprise the ten – day event include Camel and Ostrich Races, the Queen Scheherazade Scholarship Pageant, Bull-O-Rama, The Presidents’ Day Grand Parade, the Motorsports Monster Trucks, WGAS Demolition Derby, Daily Petting Zoo, World Power Wrestling and carnival rides, games and fair food. There is also nightly headline entertainment making the Riverside County national Festival a must see on your next vacation to Palm Springs and the California desert resort communities.
Standing on both sides of the river, men hold their big harpoons in hands. One man in the group murmurs a prayer, and throws a handful of mashed leaves into the river. Following him, all men put their mashed leaves into the river. Right after this a huge black dragon appears on the surface, which is in fact the appearance of hundreds of fish that have been narcotized by the leaves.
Men pitch their big harpoons onto the dragon, and dozens of fishes are killed. With the dragon pursued in the water, people shout and laugh. The scene seems to be a battlefield.
In just a few hours, every man has caught a lot of fish. They then take the fish to their women, who by then have already prepared everything to cook the fish. Cooked with water from the river, the fish has a natural fragrance and an excellent taste. People eat, drink, and exchange toasts. Some young people even sing and dance to express their happiness.
On the morning of the festival, men carry their long, big harpoons on their shoulders to go fishing. Women follow their men behind, with food and wine in a bamboo basket. Their beautiful costumes and silver jewelry are especially conspicuous. When getting to the river, women wait at the riverside with food and wine beside them.
Fishing Festival originates from a ceremony of praying for rain. Legend has it that a god who resided in the heaven had a beautiful daughter. One day, the princess became very sick, and no medication could make her to get better. The god was told in his dream that a soup cooked with one hundred fishes in the rivers and lakes could cure the princess. So the god sent people to find these fishes and make them into soup. The princess recovered soon after she drank the soup. To express thanks to the fishes in the rivers and lakes, the god ordered to protect them and nobody was allowed to catch them. The god also demanded all rain should go to rivers and lakes, but not to the soil.
Without rain, plants withered away, and people couldn’t grow anything on their farmland. So they killed pigs, sheep, and oxen to hold a sacrificial ceremony to pray for rain. But still there was no rain at all. With all the livestock slaughtered, people at last had to kill chubs, carps, and salmon as sacrifices. The god saw his fishes to be killed and was sad to cry. He cried for three days, with thundering and lightning. His tears turned to be downpour, which irrigated the plants and grass.
So, are you interested in attending shows, festivals and events in Riverside County? There are bunch of exciting things happening in the county that you shouldn’t miss. Be sure to check out and enjoy!