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Camel & Ostrich & Zebra Races at Riverside Date Festival

  • Feb 23, 2013 · 8:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Please Note: Read all the directions below before you RSVP 'Yes' for this event.

1) I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate.

2) I will be arranging a carpool in LA meeting at 8:30 AM SHARP since Indio is a 2 plus hour drive away from LA.

3) If you carpool please keep in mind we won't be returning to LA until around 7 PM or so, since I will be hosting other separate events in the area.

4) If you carpool, please give your designated driver at least $25 in cash to reimburse for gas and car maintenance.

5) We will be eating at the fair, so bring at least $40 in CA$H with you.

6) Admission into the Fair is $9 per person. Parking is $7.

Last year, Sally told me about a camel and ostrich race she saw in the desert and that piqued my interest since I enjoy seeing camels and ostriches. It turns out each year, Riverside hosts one of the more quirky county fairs in the state. They really do have camel and ostrich races. That alone is enough to make me go and want to see it.

Here is a video of the camel and ostrich races to give you a better idea of what to expect:!

From Anakerie's blog:

Ostrich Races Anyone? Or Maybe Camel Races? I’m sitting out a “no internet” break because of the weather, so I thought I’d share a few more pictures from the visit to Southern California.. While we were down there, the Riverside County Fair and Indio Date Festival opened. My Aunt, Uncle, a cousin and her husband, my Mom and I decided to go check it out. The palm trees that you see behind the magic lamp are date palms and are all that's left of a huge grove of date palms that used to be there. The groves of date palms are "moving" out of the town of Indio into the desert surrounding the city.

Of course, while there we just had to watch the races. It’s been a tradition at the Date Festival for many years to have the ostrich and camel races. I can remember watching them as a kid when the family went to the fair and I can also remember how funny the guys looked mounted on those big birds.. Well, I have to tell you. The guys still looked funny on those big birds. As you can see from the picture to the left, the race guys have a nice little flock of birds. They also had a few emus in a pen in the back, but I couldn’t get into a good position to get a good picture of them.

Here’s a view of the ostriches and their riders getting ready to race. If you look close, you can see 2 of the riders getting mounted on their birds. The 3 guys at the gates are actually trying to keep the gates closed as the birds were bumping hard against the enclosures.

And... They're off!

About halfway around the track, the ostrich that was carrying the fellow in the white shirt decided it didn't want to run for the finish line. It stopped dead, nearly throwing the rider off. Then it started to spin and that did throw the rider off..

It took the rider and two other guys to get the ostrich back under control and headed towards the finish line and the pens.

The ostrich race was followed by a zebra race...

Then we watched another ostrich race, only this time the birds were pulling chariots. The fellow in red won the race followed by the one in white that you can see just exiting the starting gate. The fellow in blue brought up the rear.

Then the race people brought 6 young boys down out of the stands. Volunteers. The older boys got to "race" the emus. No riding, they just chased the birds towards the finish line. All 3 boys were grinning from ear to ear at the end...

The 3 littlest boys got to "race" chickens. They had a much shorter distance to chase the chickens overall, but their race took the longest because the chickens ran every which way and most of the time, not towards the finish line.

The final race was the camel race. As you can see from the picture, the fellow in yellow had a bit of trouble controlling which direction his camel ran.

And at the halfway point, the fellow in red was in the lead with the one in green following in second place.

And the fellow in yellow brought up the rear. LOL!
After the races were over, we wandered the fairgrounds viewing the arts and crafts that were entered in the competitions and of course, we had to have a "date shake". We bought some fresh dates to bring home with us, as well. We all had a great time at the fair and were ready for some serious sitting down when we left.

After the Fair we will check out a local museum at Indio.

Coachella Valley Museum & Cultural Center

82-616 Miles Avenue, Indio, CA 92201

Admission is $10 per person.

The museum campus contains the Smiley-Tyler House, a 1926 adobe home which houses the main exhibits; the historic 1909 Indio Schoolhouse; and the Date Museum. Also, the spacious grounds hold a variety of gardens, including a Memorial Date Garden, a Japanese Garden, the Jardin Del Desierto, and the oldest Cork Oak tree in the Coachella Valley. Other highlights include our Submarine house, a Blacksmith shop, various farming equipment, and the Museum's archives.

The Museum is located at[masked] Indio Springs Parkway in Indio, just behind the Fantasy Springs Casino Hotel. Admission is free and groups are welcome. The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The Cabazon Cultural Museum is a non-profit organization and, according to Judy Stapp, director of cultural affairs, the museum is dedicated to introducing Cabazon civilization – past, present and future – to reservation visitors. “The facility fulfills the tribe’s goal of preserving and sharing its history, traditions and culture,” she explains.

The Cabazon Cultural Museum is a 3,000-foot building that houses exhibits on Cahuilla culture to bring visitors into direct contact with Native viewpoints and voices through a series of exhibitions, public programs and performances.

The museum presents displays that emphasize a traditional historical perspective of the Cahuilla Indians, with emphasis on the last 150 years, a period of rapid social and cultural change for all Native Americans.

The Final Stop will be the iconic Cabazon dinosaurs that we have all driven by on the 10 freeway but I'm willing to bet none of you have ever stopped to check them out and realize they are also a museum.

The World's Biggest Dinosaurs are located in Cabazon California at Highway 10 and the Main Street exit, 13 miles west of Palm Springs. 50770 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, CA[masked]

Admission to World's Biggest Dinosaurs Museum is $7.95 Adults, $6.95 Children, $6.00 Military with ID and Senior Citizens. FREE admission for children under 2. Permanently physically disabled children and adults using wheelchairs and walkers and one attendant are admitted FREE. If needed, we also provide a free bottle of water. We would like to make your visit as enjoyable as possible, so please call us to plan your visit.

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  • Suzi O.

    Yes! My first camel ride. Dates shakes, corn dogs, pig races, crazy ostriches and good company.

    February 27, 2013

  • SunnyDE

    My post surgery foot still swelling, must cancel

    February 20, 2013

  • Suzi O.

    Who is planning to drive? Can I get a ride? I have a newish car and can drive if necessary but I drive alot to work and back and would prefer a view from the back seat. Let me know.

    February 19, 2013

    • Robert

      Suzy, this is why I sent out my email this morning. I am trying to figure out who in Pleasure Palate is willing to be a designated driver. Right now, I have 2 willing drivers from Gay Foodies, but no volunteer designated drivers from PP.

      February 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry...accidentally clicked on this event.

    February 17, 2013

  • Robert

    I added 3 museums to visit after the seeing the Camel, Ostrich and Zebra races. I figure we might as well see some other sites on our way back to LA. I added them to the event write-up along with addresses and any admission fees. The 3 museums after the festival are optional - unless you are carpooling with me or a driver that plans to visit all the places on the list.

    February 5, 2013

  • Suzi O.

    I've been curious about the Date Festival for years!

    January 7, 2013

2 went

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