Riverside County Fair Begins

Carnival rides, camel and ostrich races, and more


The 64th annual Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival began 10 days of festivities Friday, with free admission for the first five hours.

The festival, which opened Friday, features more than 200 exhibitors, plus traditional fair events, such as carnival rides and a camel and ostrich race, said festival spokeswoman Veronica Helgeland.

Last year, the fair enjoyed record attendance when it offered free admission for its first four hours.

"We recognize it's rough economic times out there so we extended it an extra hour," Helgeland said. During the entire festival, different types of dates -- stuffed with chocolate, coconut or nuts -- will be on sale throughout the fairgrounds, Helgeland said.

Saturday's scheduled performance by the classic rock band Kansas was canceled because the lead singer is sick, Helgeland said.

She said fair organizers were working on a backup plan.

The fair runs until February 21.

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