Images of America: Indio’s Date Festival

Welcome to the website for Images of America: Indio’s Date Festival. The book is now available for sale at area bookstores and independent retailers throughout the Coachella Valley and Riverside County.

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Indios Date Festival Cover



Coachella Valley Residents Have Opportunity to be in Upcoming Book About the Date Festival

February 3, 2015

Indio, California: Coachella Valley residents have the opportunity to be in an upcoming book about the Date Festival. The book, published by Arcadia Press will be released in February 2016.

Images of America: Indio’s Date Festival, begins with a history of the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival dating back to 1921. It will include images of the date festival fairgrounds, exhibits, parades, pageants, and of course its visitors who often dressed in “Arabian” costumes.

Sarah Seekatz, a native of the Coachella Valley received her PhD in history from UC Riverside in 2014 and completed extensive research on the date industry in the Valley. In doing so she uncovered much of the festival’s history. “I’m really excited to publish a book that highlights what a central role the date festival has played in regional identity and the local community.”

While Seekatz has already located several wonderful photographs of the Queen Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights Musical Pageants, she wants more images of people interacting at the fair in other ways. “It would be really wonderful to get more photos of the colorful exhibits, of people enjoying different rides, of the unique floats in the parades, and even of kids eating the yummy treats available at the fair,” Seekatz says. “The older the photographs, the better!”, she added, “If your grandparents put up a display in their store’s window front in the 1940s, if your parents wore a costume to school in the 1950s, or if you sold date shakes in the fairgrounds in the 1960s, your images would make an incredible addition!” She continued, “The festival is so much more than Queen Schehrazade and her camels. It’s the participation of local residents, from dressing up to entering baking competitions and volunteering behind the scenes, that makes our county fair so special!”

Coachella Valley residents are encouraged to review their family photographs to look for images of the Date Festival and its related events. Preference will go to historic photographs but all images are welcome.

If you have historic images of the date festival, submitting them for publication consideration is easy. Visit or contact Sarah Seekatz at or (760) 501-8409 for more instructions. Seekatz will work with you and your family to obtain high-quality scans of images used in the book. Additionally, Seekatz is working with the Coachella Valley History Museum; if you choose you can donate a digital copy of your image to the museum’s archives so that they may be preserved for generations to come.

Seekatz will be presenting a public talk about the date industry and festival at the February 19th meeting of the Coachella Valley Archaeological Society (CVAS) at 45-480 Portola Ave. in Palm Desert. The public is welcome to attend and meet the author.

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