Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Another Borrego Days

Cal Fire Introduced to Town, Fun For All


Last updated 11/9/2023 at 2:26pm

The 2023 57th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival kicked off yet another opening of a new season here in Borrego Springs.

Under the leadership of Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Françoise Rhodes, taking charge of the Festival once again in her tenure as Director, and backed by many volunteers, who have made sure that the highly anticipated Festival was able to be put on this year and provide excitement and joy.

Through all the hard work and the setbacks in preparing for this large event, it was a great weekend as many of those in attendance enjoyed all that there was to offer having fun, sharing laughs and the outdoors in the heart of Borrego Springs on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.

As many have noted, there was again no parade this year, leading to disappointment, however, it does take the efforts of volunteers to make it happen. So it should be considered signing up for the next Festival with the hopes of a wonderful, possibly scaled-down parade returning in the coming years.

"On behalf of myself, the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the many volunteers who made Borrego Days a success, we hope that everyone had a great time and look forward to Borrego Days 58," Françoise Rhodes, Executive D irector, Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce, said.

"Soon you'll see the names of those who dedicated their time for this community event, and at the Chamber we know we cannot have Borrego Days without their dedication and selfless act of kindness. However, at this writing everyone is exhausted and will be taking a few days off!!!!!!!!"

Rhodes added, "To sign up for the free Chamber Weekly eblast sent every Wednesday and available for everyone, simply send an email to with the word eblast in the subject line, we'll do the rest. Para el correo semanal de la Cámara, envíenos un mensaje a con la palabra "español" en el título."

Opening the 57th Annual Borrego Days weekend, Cal Fire led the way down Palm Canyon Drive blaring their horns to welcome all to the Festival. Following Cal Fire and Borrego's Paramedics were State Park Rangers, as well as American Legion Post 853 and "The Beast," its well-oiled 1944 Scout Car and Miss Borrego 2023 and her court. This was followed by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Robin Young.

After a brief wait, all eyes were to the sky as two planes, courtesy of Bryan Jones and the San Diego International Aerobatic Club Chapter 36 (IAC 36) flew over Palm Canyon Drive.

At the Circle, many vendors – new and returnees – music by local favorites, the kids zone, adult beer garden and the "Shine and Show" car show, which were enjoyed by locals and visitors.

Captain Tony Mecham introduced the Cal Fire team in Borrego, with Borrego Springs Fire Protection District members being able to keep their jobs during the transition. He also recognized the Cal Fire staff coming over to Borrego.

He also shared that one of the first things done during the transition was increasing staffing with five people on duty in Borrego, up from three; replacing equipment including a new fire engine that will be brought to the community; new ambulance. He also said that Cal Fire is committed to make positive changes and looking toward building a new fire station.

Captain Mecham concluded by thanking Supervisor Jim Desmond for his support of this transition, but also the community of Borrego Springs for their welcoming arms and encouraged Festival go-ers to interact with them at their booth.

During the announcements and awards presentations at 12:30 p.m., Rhodes welcomed all in attendance to the Festival. Our newly-crowned Miss Borrego 2023 – 24 Angela Fregoso, First Princess Jasmile Lopez and Second Princess Elena Sanchez introduced themselves to the crowd and shared a few words, as well as Co-Honorary Mayors Jim and Anne Wermers, and Chamber President Clint Brandin gave speeches. A new Honorary Mayor was also handed over the reins. Rhodes shared that the new Honorary Mayor has done so much for the community and continues to do so, and has lent a helping hand time-and-time again when needed, sharing that he truly fits to be Borrego's Honorary Mayor. Dan Wright was honored as Mayor for the coming year.

Jim Wermers also handed Wright the "stoplight" noting that one of his sole jobs as Mayor is to be sure this stays out of Borrego Springs.

Dan Wright noted the few projects that are being worked on for Borrego, including: New fire station by the Library, Medical Clinic in the same area, and working on developing affordable senior housing.

Three awards were presented this year on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce: "The Mike Himmerich Dedicated Chamber Volunteer for Outstanding Service Award," and "The Stuart Resor Outstanding Community Service Award."

A special award was given to Brad Tidwell for his dedicated service to the Chamber.

George Thompson received "The Mike Himmerich Dedicated Chamber Volunteer for Outstanding Service Award," which goes to a Chamber of Commerce Volunteer who has provided outstanding passion and dedication.

Lynn Pierce received "The Stuart Resor Outstanding Community Service" Award, in which she started a group in 2007 for the community by picking up trash for an hour a day once a month.

Many folks enjoyed what the Festival had to offer, and danced to Borrego Favorites "Soul Frenzi," Modern Country's Best PHT and the Honky Tonk Nights, as well as Nacho Bustillos and Band. And families gathered to watch the wonderful stylings of the Borrego Elementary After-School Dance team.

Despite the bearing heat on the first day of the annual weekend, and the absence of a beloved "big" part of the Borrego Days Festival, it surely did not take away the fun that was had by all and smiles it brought this year. We hope that many lend a hand in the coming years to continue to make this annual season opener Festival one for the books!

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