By Crystal Harrell
For the first time ever, the Riverside County Fairgrounds will welcome Thrillville from February 18- 27 in Indio. The 10-day event will feature adrenaline-pumping rides, classic favorite carnival games, delectable fair food, live music, commercial vendors, unicyclists, stilt walkers, contortionists, jugglers, and a variety of world-class entertainment for the whole family.
Although the fairgrounds have been home to the Riverside County Fair and Date Festival for decades, Thrillville is a separate festival produced by Thrillville, LLC and KevaWorks, LLC, in partnership with First 5, Royal Plaza Inn, KARV, Estrella and Bud Light Seltzer, just to name a few.
Thrillville tours nationwide and is making its first appearance in the Coachella Valley. Thrillville partners with amazing venues, specialty acts, food courts, and top-tier carnival midway providers to produce events guaranteed to entertain the whole family year after year.
“Some people get confused that the Date Festival changed its name, but it didn’t. Thrillville is a completely different fair. There will be amazing food, entertainment, and rides at Thrillville that we are eager for the Coachella Valley to enjoy,” said Thrillville representative and media contact Lyn Hartley-Putman.
Not only is it a completely different name, but also a very new fair experience. Thrillville will feature a Kiddieland that offers rides and games at a nominal fee provided by Butler Amusements. The KidZone will include attractions like rock climbing, bounce houses, a slide, and Simulator Flying.
Butler Amusements is also bringing an array of kiddie, family and adult rides to the festival, including Zipper, Gravitron, Century Wheel, Inversion, and Giant Slide. They will also have games and food trailers with popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs, and candy apples. The Carnival will remain open until 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends. Rides, games, and food are at an additional cost while individual ride credits will be available for purchase on-site Tuesday through Friday Armbands are $30 and Saturday, Sunday, President’s Day Armbands are $35.
There will still be representation of local produce from growers in the Coachella Valley in addition to the typical carnival fare, including honey, dates, nuts, and Napoli that will be on hand. Thrillville attendees are encouraged to support local growers and take home fresh fruits, sprouts and veggies. Handcrafted goods including cupcakes, oils and soaps will be available in this area as well as homemade BBQ Sauces and wooden flags.
“Riverside County brought the livestock in so people will still be able to see what the community does with agriculture and animals. We will also have three groups of headliners instead of just one performing at night at Thrillville. We very much still want to keep that local representation at Thrillville,” revealed Lyn.
There will be over 50 booths selling clothing and accessories, anime posters and figurines, retro game consoles and arcades, skincare products, jewelry, and music. Several featured vendors include well-known names like Princess Pretty featuring headbands and goodies, Kitchen Craft cookware, Light It Up sound activated masks and toys, Pedroza Arts with leather bracelets and accessories and Yosemite Sign Co custom engraved signs.
For a special keepsake from Thrillville, attendees can take a family photo in one of the many photo booths or have a caricature made at the fair. Face painting and henna tattoos will be available as well as customized photo key chains help make a lasting memory.
“Thrillville is on a smaller scale this time. No rides can be seen from Highway 111 because the carnival is pushed father back. By the time Riverside County reached out to us about wanting to do Thrillville, there wasn’t enough time to get all the buildings and exhibits in, but we are using the Taj Mahal building for workshops an our new S.C.R.A.P. gallery,” shared Lyn.
“She Works Hard For The Honey– So Don’t Waste It!,” is a new exhibit about the global effect of food waste and its impact on pollinator populations like bees, birds, butterflies, and bats. It was created by S.C.R.A.P. Gallery, and the exhibit features “Pollination Investigation,” a poster exhibit from Smithsonian Gardens and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
“She Works Hard for The Honey” brings together educators, scientists, artists, and students to explore how pollinators nourish our planet by helping plants to reproduce and create the foods we need to survive. Many pollinator populations are in decline, which is attributed to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats. This special exhibit for children will feature free arts and crafts as well as educational food waste programs daily.
Entertainment is an essential part of any fair festivities. There will be a variety of headlining performances ranging from rock, mariachi, and jazz. On Friday the 18th, Bone Thumpers and BUMPTOWN grace the stage at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. Saturday’s lineup consists of King Sol & The Vibes at 3 p.m., dysFUNKsion at 5 p.m., and Lakeside at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday the 20th is reserved for thrilling Rodeo events taking place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday sees LawKnee at 3 p.m., Pescaterritory at 5 p.m., and the genre-bending Metalachi at 7:30 p.m. Sunday the 27th concludes with No Raja at 2 p.m., Mariachi Tierra Mexicana de Coachella at 4 p.m., and Voz de Mando at 5:30 p.m.
There will be a nightly karaoke contest on the Community Stage from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, the 21st through Thursday the 24th. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to sign up with the final contest on Thursday, the 24th, at 6 p.m.
And, of course, what is a fair without delicious food? Thrillville will feature 30 food booths, sure to offer an array of ethnic specialties, as well as bacon wrapped hot dogs, Philly cheese steak sandwich, roasted corn, BBQ, turkey legs, gyros, pizza, and more.
Desserts are not in short supply either, consisting of funnel cakes, kettle corn, fried Oreos and Twinkies, homemade cookies, candy apples, cotton candy, ice cream, shaved ice and tasty cinnamon rolls. Some featured vendors include Juicy’s Hamburgers, Tasti Chips, Mom’s Bakeshoppe, E & E Pel’s, and Texas Donuts.
The Ground Acts are another unique part of the Thrillville experience such as the Live Shark Encounter, Cartoon Poodles, The Flying Royal Circus, stilt walkers, jugglers, unicyclists, contortionists, Rock Wall, Walk on Water Bubbles, Power Jump, and animal experiences with snakes, monkeys, and lorikeets. Thrillville attendees will be able to get a firsthand circus experience at these one-of-a-kind attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
“I’m thankful we were able to organize a fair because we wanted to do something for our community. Over the past two years, no one has been able to do anything because of the pandemic. 2020 was the last fair that took place in Indio. We want families to be able to come out and enjoy Thrillville. The support from the community has been greatly appreciated,” said Lyn.
Promotion codes for online sales are available online. Guests can follow Thrillville on Facebook to find promo codes for massive discounts. Thrillville encourages the idea of paperless ticket sales with digital tickets being available online with parking as well.
Even carnival ride tickets can be purchased online without the need for a physical wristband and would be scanned through mobile before going on rides. For complete fair details, schedules, and advanced ticket sales, visit theThrillville.com/Indio. Prices and times are subject to change at any time and there will be no refunds for weather or event closure/cancellation.