Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Festival in Countdown Mode


Last updated 10/17/2019 at 11:45am

Fifty-four years and counting, still going strong, the Borrego Springs seasonal opening event is a "don't miss" fun-fest. Far from your average hometown parade, prepare to be wowed as the 54th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival kicks off Oct. 19 with pre-parade activities beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the traditional flyover featuring a variety of aircrafts, courtesy of Rick Fordem and the Borrego Air Ranch, who have been participating in the Festival for nearly 30 years.

After the singing of the national anthem by our wonderful Borrego Springs Elementary School students, a multitude of parade entries will strut their stuff down Palm Canyon Drive and around Christmas Circle. From dignitaries like Grand Marshal Jim Desmond, District 5 Supervisor, Volunteer of the Year Judy Coyle, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Sylvana Meeks, marching bands, a variety of classic cars and low-riders to equestrian units, golf carts and floats will be shown off. Also on show will be the 2019 – 20 Miss Borrego contestants with the newly crowned Miss Borrego.

"Bloom in Borrego" is the theme for the Festival this year, bringing awareness of and paying homage to the beauty of Borrego Springs and the surrounding 600,000 acres of our Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The slogan is not only a reminder of our wildflower heritage, but also casts a hopeful eye on Borrego's future.

Tackling the numerous logistical issues involved in mounting the Parade & Festival is best summed up by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and co-chair of Borrego Days Valeen Szabo, who is in her first year of being a part of planning the Festival.

"I'm dancing as fast as I can," she says, and thanks the overwhelming number of volunteers who are helping put on this event.

"I am looking forward to another great community celebration."

Starting the Festival off right, the Rotary Club is once again sponsoring the Festival Breakfast behind Coldwell Banker Friday Oct. 18 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., prepared by Borrego Springs Unified School District Food Service Manager Cathy Paredes, with both meat and veggie frittatas, fruit, potatoes, sweet rolls, juice and coffee.

Following the parade on Saturday Oct. 19, the excitement continues at Christmas Circle with music and multiple musical performances, including headliner Sara Petite, with the CalAmity Band with Beak and Band of Loons performing.

The entertainment for Sunday at the Circle are elementary dancers, Sara Petite again, Miguel el Potrito de Sinaloa, Israel Ochoa and Grupo Elejido, and Soul Frenzy.

There will also be a kids zone, beer garden, rows of booths offering a variety of handmade goods, beautiful artwork, crafts, and delicious food.

"With this small town community event, you will see a lot of local talent and participation, as well as a variety of entertainment," Borrego Days Committee co-chair Debbie Woollet said. "The participation by all, and those who are donating their time and resources to put on this event is tremendous. So come out and see what's 'Blooming in Borrego.'"

Something new for auto enthusiasts is the Car Show at The Mall, offering more room for spectators to ogle and mingle around beautiful automobiles.

When all is wrapped up at the Circle, head on over to The Mall Plaza, and enjoy a pint for the park you love with the Anza-Borrego Foundation. ABF hosts their annual Pints 4 the Park, benefiting the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There, you can enjoy live music by Dennis Franklin & Friends Cameo Revue and Patsy Cline, and food by Carmelita's. Tickets are $20, and are available at Borrego Outfitters or online at

The FREE festival starts Friday Oct. 18 through Sunday Oct. 20. So make it a weekend to remember with family and friends at the 54th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival – Bloom in Borrego.

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