• Thursday, December 12, 2019 (11:47 am)

    OC Fair Board names Michele Richards CEO

    Michele Richards has been chosen as CEO to lead OC Fair & Event Center as it readies for its 130th annual fair.

    The announcement was made at the Dec. 12 OC Fair Board meeting. Richards has served as Interim CEO since Oct. 28 and prior to that she was the agency’s VP of Business Development for more than seven years. She was also an organizational development consultant to OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) for 11 years and next year will celebrate her 19th OC Fair.

    “I cannot think of a better person to move us forward. Michele is extremely knowledgeable and exudes enthusiasm for OC Fair & Event Center and the communities we serve,” said board chair Sandra Cervantes. “Michele is very well-prepared for this role and comes into the position with the full support of the board and staff. We are excited about the future.”

    Richards has more than 30 years of leadership experience in a variety of fields including advertising/marketing, organizational development, sales and human resources, including more than 15 years managing her own consulting practice.

    At OCFEC, she has worked in several leadership positions including overseeing marketing, communications, events, creative services, sales, exhibits and education.

    “I believe that what we do here is special and important and I am honored to be entrusted to serve this amazing organization,” said Richards. “To lead such a talented and passionate staff is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

    Richards takes the CEO role at a time when the state agency, also known as California’s 32nd District Agriculture Association, is approving its yearly budget, working through branding assessment and planning 2020 events.

  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 (2:42 pm)

    Theme for 2020 OC Fair announced!!

    Announcing: the theme for the 2020 OC Fair is All for Fun!!
    Next year’s OC Fair will celebrate the community coming together to enjoy the best of summer: All for Fun!
    Fairgoers are invited to spend the day together at the crossroads of culture, agriculture, entertainment and commerce. Come as you are, make memories and create traditions at the OC Fair.
    “There is so much going on today. We might feel divided, we are probably busy and we long for connection. What’s better than a county fair to bring fun, togetherness and a sense of community?” said Michele Richards, OC Fair & Event Center Interim CEO. “It means so much to the staff to put on this remarkable Fair and to see the joy on the faces of our guests. That’s why we do this, and that’s why we love it.”
    This will be the first of a three-year series of fair themes focusing on inclusiveness and celebrating the diverse aspects of Southern California that bring us all together.
    The 2020 OC Fair will run from July 17 to Aug. 16, Wednesday through Sunday. There will be deals and discounts offered each of the 23 days of the Fair and more rolled out on social media. There is always a way to save, such as We Care Wednesdays, when fairgoers can get free admission with a donation of school supplies, nonperishable food, children’s books or clothing on designated Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m.
    Super Passes offer the best way to get the most out of the Fair – plus get deals on shows and attractions – and will go on sale in December. Tickets to the OC Fair will also be available in December and there are no fees for advance and online purchases. Visit ocfair.com to get more information and buy tickets and passes.
    The first announcements of concerts in Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and shows in Action Sports Arena will begin on Dec. 4. Stay tuned!

  • Friday, October 25, 2019 (11:24 am)

    Sandra Cervantes named new OCFEC Board Chair

    The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors named Sandra Cervantes as Chair and Andreas Meyer as Vice Chair at its Oct. 25 meeting.

    Cervantes, former Vice Chair, replaces Robert Ruiz who served as Board Chair for the past year. She has been on the board since 2014 and has owned Miniondas Newspaper since 2013 and Cervantes Real Estate since 2012. Cervantes was vice president of the Century 21 Professionals REO Division from 1993 to 2011 and administrative director at the Women’s Choice Clinic from 1983 to 1993.

    She is also managing director of the Sandra Y. Cervantes Scholarship Fund at the Hispanic Educational Endowment Fund of Orange County and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Advisory Board and the Heritage Museum of Orange County Board of Directors.

    Meyer was appointed to the Board in 2018 and is University Counsel for Student Affairs at the University of Southern California. He previously served as Associate General Counsel at Chapman University from 2017 to  2019, and as University Counsel and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees at USC from 2011 to 2017.

    Meyer is also president emeritus of Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBT advocacy organization. He is also the founder and president emeritus of the Orange County Lavender Bar Association in Newport Beach. 

    The Board thanked Ruiz for his service and presented him with a plaque at the meeting.

    Board officers typically serve one-year terms and are nominated for office by a committee of fellow Board members. 

  • Monday, October 21, 2019 (1:11 pm)

    Join us for a free Veterans Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 9

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
    Where: OC Fair & Event Center – Heroes Hall
    How much: Free for all ages


    On Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, OC Fair & Event Center and Orange County Employees Association will host a free community celebration in honor of Veterans Day. The event will include free hot dogs for all attendees, family-friendly activities, entertainment and a Veterans Resource Fair. Opening ceremonies for the event will include a city address by Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley.

    Emmy-Award winning newscaster Ed Arnold will help emcee a dedication and unveiling of the A-4M Skyhawk Aircraft at Heroes Hall, which was relocated last month from the Civic Center in Santa Ana.  The event will also feature a plaque dedication for Thomas P. Clark, Jr. in the Heroes Hall Walk of Honor, as well as a cake cutting ceremony with the United States Marines in honor of the 244th U.S. Marine Corps birthday.

    While the event and parking is free, guests are encouraged to bring donations for the food drive for veterans. All donations will go to Disabled American Veterans, a group that distributes donations to various organizations that help homeless veterans. Please bring non-perishable food items such as canned and instant soups, pastas, canned fruits and vegetables, baby food, or gift cards to purchase food. Also accepted: toiletries such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and toilet paper, as well as baby items like diapers, bottles and clothing.

    During the event, Heroes Hall will be open to guests, featuring the newest exhibit, Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II. The veterans museum is open year-round and also features the exhibit The SAAAB Story, which chronicles the history of the Santa Ana Army Airbase.

    The celebration will continue until 4 p.m. with free admission to the OC Market Place, located near Heroes Hall.

  • Friday, September 27, 2019 (3:25 pm)

    Skyhawk aircraft arrives at Heroes Hall

    A Vietnam-era A-4M Skyhawk aircraft has been relocated from the Santa Ana Civic Center to Heroes Hall. The plane has been a part of Civic Center Plaza for more than a decade, but has to be moved due to construction plans.

    The aircraft was transported to OC Fair & Event Center overnight and was lifted onto its new display pedestal, which is surrounded by hardscape and seating areas, this morning.

    Heroes Hall will host a Salute to Veterans event on Nov. 9, at which time the Skyhawk will be officially unveiled. 

    The aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.


    Plane specifications:

    • Wing Span: 27’ 5”
    • Length: 41’ 4”
    • Height: 15’
    • Max speed: 690 MPH
    • Range: 1,856 nautical miles

    History and details:

    • The A-4 Skyhawk is an attack aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1950s to provide close air support for Marines while flying from expeditionary airfields and aircraft carriers.
    • Skyhawk planes first flew in 1954 and entered service with the Marine Corps at MCAS El Toro in September 1956. The aircraft played a major role during the Cold War and the Vietnam War.
    • The A-4M Skyhawk that will be on display at Heroes Hall first flew in April 1970. The M model was the last production series of the Skyhawk.
    • The aircraft was designed by legendary engineer Ed Heinemann and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company and later by McDonnel Douglas.
    • The first 500 produced cost an average of $860,000 each, less than the Navy’s $1 million maximum.
    • A total of 2,960 were built in El Segundo and Long Beach, California, either as single-seat attack aircraft or as dual-seated advanced trainers that were also used in forward air control missions.
    • The A-4 Skyhawk has wings so compact that they did not need to be folded for carrier stowage.
    • The aircraft was capable of carrying a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions. Its bomb load capacity was equivalent to that of a World War II-era B-17 bomber and it was able to deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system.
    • The aircraft received many nicknames including “Scooter,” “Kiddiecar,” “Bantam Bomber,” “Tinker Toy Bomber,” and “Heinemann’s Hot-Rod.”
    • Notable naval aviators who flew the Skyhawk include Lt. Commanders Everette Alvarez, Jr., John McCain, and Commander James Stockdale.

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