The annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival has been canceled for 2021, the county announced on Friday.
The date festival was set to be held in February. County officials hope the festival will return in 2022, which would be its 75th anniversary.
County officials are still looking for other ways to celebrate the fair’s 75th anniversary in 2021, include possibly a virtual celebration.
The Queen Scheherazade Scholarship Pageant, set to be held in November, was also canceled.
The fairgrounds in Indio are currently being used to house a Federal Medical Station put in place by the California National Guard on March 25.
The Federal Medical Station has not been used in that time as it would only be used to treat low-level patients and it may take away staffing from local hospitals, according to the county.
This isn't the first time the Date Festival has had to be canceled since the 1940s. At the time all fairs were halted due to World War II.
"The Riverside County Fairgrounds are known not only as the home of our beloved Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, but as a focal point and safe haven for the community when it comes to accessing health care and, today, they are being utilized in another health care mission to help us overcome the coronavirus," said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez. "It is rare that we cancel this Fair, but we know the tradition is so strong and special for many families, including mine, that we can look forward to its return after we complete this mission."
The Riverside County Fairgrounds will also continue to serve as one of the county’s COVID-19 testing locations. The testing is open to anyone, with or without symptoms. To schedule an appointment, please call (800) 945-6171 or visit rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing to make it online.