Downtown hosts Medjool Date Festival on Saturday

Visitors at a previous Yuma Medjool Date Festival sample dates from the Martha's Garden food stand. The festival takes place again Saturday at 10 a.m. on Main Street.

Fresh vegetables will lend some variety Saturday to the annual festival in downtown Yuma that celebrates the area’s date industry.

A farmer’s market is being added this year to the lineup of Yuma Medjool Date Festival, says Carrie Ring, marketing specialist for the city of Yuma’s Heritage Festivals, the organizer of the event.

Fresh vegetables currently being grown in the area will be offered for sale to visitors to the festival.

And there will be plenty of dates.

Up to nine date growers from the region will be at the festival to offer samples of their products as well as sell boxes of dates, Ring said. That’s up from seven a year ago.

The festival takes place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on Main Street. Admission to the venue is free.

Back for this year’s festival will be notable chefs of the area who will prepare recipes with dates as ingredients. Ring said the public will be able to watch the chefs at work and take home the recipes.

Yuma Speedway will contribute a static display of stock cars, hobby stock cars and mini dwarf cars in the 300 block of Main.

Last Call, the winner of the most recent Battle of the Bands competition hosted by the Yuma Art Center, will perform classic rock, country and some pop music in an afternoon concert that is part of the festival.

There will also be a Kids’ Corner. A $5 admission gives youngsters all-day admittance to the activities in the children’s fun zone.

Another attraction of the festival will be a beverage garden. Proceeds from drink sales will benefit Right Turn for Yuma Veterans, an organization that helps veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Sponsor of the festival are State Farm Insurance agent Cathy Nuetzi, Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers, Imperial Date Gardens, Canyon Distributing, Coors Light, New Belgium Brewing, ACME Pools & Spas, Jay’s Party Shop, Reddy Ice, Coca-Cola of Yuma, Welk Resorts, David Ager of Yuma Photo, Vacation Village Resorts, Da Boyz Italian Cuisine, Littlewood Fine Arts & Community Co-Op and Lutes Casino.

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