The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today approved a partnership with Pickering Events LLC to operate the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, an agreement that will bring back the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival on an annual basis, ensure the continuation of the Fair Board and bring world-class events on a year-round basis as well as funding support to improve the Fairgrounds facilities.
The partnership, the result of a formal bidding process conducted by the county, will have Pickering Events LLC, an organization with deep experience with the fair and fairground industry, license and operate the Riverside County Fairgrounds and Fair for five years, starting July 1, 2022.
Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez welcomes the new partnership, an innovative model to continue the traditions of the Date Festival, bring re-investment to the Fairgrounds as a county asset, and spark the success of the Fairgrounds venue year-round.
In addition, Supervisor Perez has announced that the next Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival will be held February 17-26, 2023, returning as a full-scale event.
“This is great for the City of Indio, the Coachella Valley and Riverside County and for the future of the National Date Festival,” said Supervisor Perez. “Riverside County and the Fair Board look forward to being partners with Pickering in bringing the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival back for the community, as well as attracting events to increase the use of the Fairgrounds for the community and families.”
Family-owned and operated, Pickering Events LLC brings together decades of proven experience and international award-winning expertise in facility, events and fairgrounds management.
“We are excited to revitalize the Riverside County Fairgrounds post-pandemic, and to bring back the full Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival February 17-26, 2023,” said Pickering Events Senior Partner Rick Pickering. “I am also excited to embark on this journey as a family business with my three sons, Chris, Nick and Josh.”
Rick Pickering, with previous roles as CEO of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton and Deputy General Manager of the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, will also continue in his current role as CEO of the California State Fair and Exposition in Sacramento.
Pickering Events Principal Partner Chris Pickering will be the on-site operations manager at the Riverside County Fairgrounds. He most recently served as CEO of the Northwest Washington Fair Association in Lynden, WA, and both Rick and Chris have previously served as members of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.
“The Riverside County Fairgrounds is interwoven in the lives of so many Californians,” noted Chris Pickering, a resident of Moreno Valley. “Local Coachella Valley residents and the broader community of Riverside County have both expressed a desire to open the facility to milestone life events – weddings, quinceañeras, and the like – as well as restore the traditions of the National Date Festival. We look forward to facilitating these opportunities and bringing new experiences to the Fairgrounds that invite the community to come together.”