Stardew Valley 1.6: A Complete Desert Festival Guide

In Short
  • Desert Festival starts at 10 AM on Spring 15th, 16th, and 17th and is located in the Calico Desert in Stardew Valley 1.6.
  • Villagers have their own shops where they sell useful and unique items. Also, there are amusing races and difficult Skull Cavern challenges.
  • You also have access to fishing challenges, free cactus decorations and meals. The currency is calico eggs.

Calico Desert is already one of the most important areas in Stardew Valley due to the Skull Cavern. However, the Stardew Valley 1.6 update has added one more special event to the desert, the Desert Festival. It’s a unique festival that offers numerous opportunities and is super fun to explore. Today, we’ll teach you all you need to know about the Desert Festival, from where to find it to its challenges and rewards in Stardew Valley 1.6. With that, let’s jump straight in!

Where and When Does the Desert Festival Happen?

  • Location: Calico Desert
  • Time and Date: Spring 15th, 16th and 17th at 10AM
  • Requirements: Repair the bus

Let’s first discuss the basics of the Desert Festival. First of all, it takes place in the Calico Desert, of course. This means, that to unlock the Desert Festival, you’ll first need to have the bus repaired, otherwise, the festival won’t be accessible. The Desert Festival works similarly to the Night Market as it lasts for three days.

It happens every year, starting from Spring 15 and running until Spring 17. The festival begins at 10:00 AM and ends at 12:00 AM when the villager shops get closed. Unlike other festivals, you can enter the Calico Desert before the event starts, but you won’t have access to particular features.

All Desert Festival Activities in Stardew Valley

Now that you know when and where the Desert Festival occurs, let’s see what it has in store for you in Stardew Valley 1.6.

Festival Currency

Player holding calico eggs that are Desert Festival currency in Stardew Valley 1.6

The festival’s currency is not gold. Instead, you have to use calico eggs to purchase different items. These eggs are a physical item in your inventory and you can get them by completing different mini-games and challenges, which we’ll talk about a bit later in the guide.

Furthermore, you cannot carry calico eggs over to next year’s festival, as they will disappear from all inventories once the festival ends.

Festival Shops & Attractions

Now, let’s take a look at all the available shops and attractions in the Desert Festival.

1. Calico Egg Merchant

Calico Egg Merchant offers

First, there is a Calico Egg Merchant. They’re a dark figure with a shop in the center of the three obelisks. This is a standard shop at the festival. They will offer various items from the decoration category, as well as hats, food, bombs, and even mystery boxes. All of these trades require calico eggs instead of gold.

2. Villager Shops

Unlike any other festival in the game, residents of the Pelican Town have their own shops. Just south of the bus, you will see two large shop displays on either side.

Throughout the festival, different villagers will attend these shops randomly and offer different items, depending on their personalities and likings.

Villager shops in the Desert Festival in Stardew Valley 1.6

This is the only way you can acquire the secret villager weapons. Only the marriage candidates will offer them, so make sure you check these shops every day of the festival.

  • Vincent's shop
  • Jas' shop in the Stardew Valley 1.6 Desert Festival
  • Sam's shop
  • Kent's shop
  • Judi's shop in the Stardew Valley 1.6 Desert Festival

3. Chef

The chef in the Desert Festival

The chef has a shop just northwest of the bus. He lets you choose different ingredients for the meal and then makes it, so it has different effects, depending on your choices. You’ll obtain the meal after a short animation and you’ll eat it right away, automatically applying an effect.

You can get as many meals as you want for free. However, keep in mind that the effects from the latter meal will override the effects from the former meal, so wait for them to wear off for the best efficiency.

4. Emily’s Box

Emily's box for changing outfits

Emily’s box is located south of the villager shops. You can enter it to get a completely new outfit, which is “perfectly suited” for you. It is free, though you can only enter this box once per day. Your original outfit will be safely stored in your inventory.

5. Free Cactus

Cactus seller in the Desert Festival in Stardew Valley 1.6

There is a strange-looking person whose shop is all the way to the south of the festival. He gives you a free cactus decoration that is randomly created, so you can obtain lots of different variants. Though, you may only get it once per festival.

6. Races

Race Announcer asking who you think will win in the race

As you’ll see pretty much immediately, south of the bus there are tracks where fairly unusual races take place. Several participants compete against each other. You cannot control them, but you can bet on who you think will win. This is done by talking to the Race Announcer wearing a blue outfit on the east side of the map.

If you do choose a winner, then you’ll earn 20 calico eggs. However, you do need to do this before the race starts. Numerous races will happen throughout each of the three days, so you have great chances of earning some easy rewards.

If you would like higher odds for your chosen contestant to win, you can also kind of cheat. There is a Suspicious Guy left of the Oasis shop. He will let you choose a random race contestant that will not win. This will cost you 1 calico egg but may yield 20 calico eggs more easily than if you were playing legit.

Suspicious Guy offering services to the player

7. Scull Cavern Challenges

Skull Cavern challenges shop in the Desert Festival in Stardew Valley 1.6

The Desert Festival also has some combat challenges for you to accept. North of the bus, Gil and Marlon have their own shop of sorts that informs you about the Skull Cavern challenges.

You have a choice between two different challenges and you can only do one per day. They focus on slaying monsters or on reaching a certain level in the cavern. If you accomplish a quest, you’ll earn calico eggs.

Skull Cavern challenges in the Desert Festival

Moreover, there is also the Egg Rating. This is the value of points you get during the Skull Cavern challenges. You will be rewarded an egg point every 5 levels in the cavern, as well as when you activate a Calico Statue. It’s a cat statue that gives you buffs or debuffs randomly while you’re in the cavern.

These statues can grant calico eggs, speed boost, weaker monsters, but also can make monsters spawn more frequently, deal more damage and more. Talk to Gil and you can submit the egg points and get a reward. Just like the cavern challenge, you can only submit the Egg Rating once per day, so make sure it’s as high as possible. The rewards include calico eggs, triple shot expresso, Gil’s hat and more. The more points you have, the greater the rewards.

You’ll even find calico egg nodes in the cavern, which will yield 3 calico eggs when mined. Also, you don’t need to own a skull key to participate in these challenges, but keep in mind that they can get rather difficult.

8. Medical Station

Medical station in the Desert Festival

Due to the fact, that you can still die in the Scull Cavern, there is also a medical station left of the Calico Egg Merchant that will take care of your injuries. If you do get knocked out, you’ll wake up here. You won’t lose any energy, gold, or items, but you’ll have only 10 health points and will lose some calico eggs from your inventory.

9. Fishing Challenges

Willy's fishing challenges

Left of Gil and Marlon’s shop, there is a desert pond where Willy has set up a board offering fishing challenges. You may be tasked with catching certain desert fish, like Sandfish. When you complete the challenge, talk to Willy to receive calico eggs. Moreover, you have access to one quest per day.

10. Scholar

Scholar in the Desert Festival in Stardew Valley 1.6

If you head northeast, you’ll see a person in the corner. Upon talking to him, he’ll offer to give you calico eggs if you answer his questions correctly. These questions are related to the NPCs, seasons, crops, fish, and more.

There are four questions in total and they get increasingly more difficult. If you answer all of them correctly, you’ll receive 50 calico eggs. Also, the Scholar will award you only once per festival. If you fail, you can try again the next day.

11. Travelling Cart and the Desert Trader

Traveling cart and the Desert Trader

The Travelling Merchant that usually appears in the Cindersap Forest also shows up during the Desert Festival in Stardew Valley 1.6.

She opens her shop at 12:00 PM and offers items that you can normally buy from her. The Desert Trader is also there and offers the usual exotic goods. Sandy’s shop is open, but you cannot really buy anything until the festival is over.

12. Shrouded Figure

Shrouded figure in the Stardew Valley 1.6 Desert Festival

And finally, there is also one more person or creature that appears during the Night Market. They offer to teleport you home using the warp totem, which will cost you 250g.

There you have it, everyone. Now you know everything about the Stardew Valley Desert Festival. It’s a pretty huge festival and provides various activities. So, if you’re looking for something fun to do in Spring, this is the perfect opportunity.

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