• February 7, 2022 (3:14 pm)

    Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II opens Feb. 16 at Heroes Hall Museum

    On Feb. 16, 2022, Heroes Hall Museum at the OC Fairgrounds will open a new exhibit called Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II. Produced by The National WWII Museum, the exhibit features artifacts, photographs and oral histories to highlight some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African Americans during World War II, both overseas and on the Home Front.

    A national advisory committee, including the late Dr. Clement Alexander Price of Rutgers University, was commissioned to help frame the exhibition. The committee, led by co-chairs Dr. John Morrow of the University of Georgia and Claudine Brown of the Smithsonian Institution, helped advise on the exhibition’s narrative arc and content.

    “The importance of this exhibit at this time in our country’s history can’t be understated,” said Carol Singleton, Heroes Hall Supervisor. “Over the past two years, we have been reminded of the devastating consequences of implicit bias as well as outright racism that still plagues our communities. This exhibit is a tribute to those who stood up to the injustices of segregation and discrimination while also putting their lives on the line for their country.”

    ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

    In the years before World War II, African Americans in many parts of the country were treated as second-class citizens. Discriminatory practices were condoned by the government, and African Americans were systematically denied many rights and liberties by laws that kept them in positions of inferiority. Due to the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision in 1896, the United States was a nation where “separate but equal” was law in many states. In addition, many military leaders declared African Americans unfit to serve in combat. However, once the war began, thousands rushed to enlist, determined to fight for freedom, while still being denied equality at home.

    On display at Heroes Hall Museum through Sept. 18, 2022, Fighting for the Right to Fight illustrates how hopes for securing equality inspired many to enlist, the discouraging reality of the segregated non-combat roles given to black recruits, and the continuing fight for “Double Victory” that laid the groundwork for the modern Civil Rights Movement.

    Through interactive experiences, visitors will discover the wartime stories of individual servicemembers who took part in this journey of extraordinary challenge, from unheralded heroes to famous names, including Alex Haley (US Coast Guard); Sammy Davis Jr. (US Army); Benjamin Davis, Jr. (US Army Air Forces); Medgar Evers (US Army) and more.

    EXHIBIT VIDEO

    The centerpiece of the exhibit is an original eight-minute video about the famed 332nd Fighter Group (better known as the Tuskegee Airmen), who in many ways became the public focus of African American participation during the war. The piece is narrated by television personality Robin Roberts, whose own father flew with the Tuskegee Airmen during the war.

    Including personal accounts from members of the 332nd Fighter Group, the video provides an overview of how their success in battle became a great symbol of bravery, helping refute notions that African Americans were inferior performers in the military, especially in roles requiring advanced training. Lieutenant Colonel William Holloman III recalls his leader Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.’s encouragement: “He said, ‘America’s watching you.’ He instilled in us a pride that I don’t think was there before we went in the service.”

    Additionally, Fighting for the Right to Fight will feature two medals representing the seven African Americans who were awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997, the bittersweet result of a long investigation by the US military on discriminatory policies in the awarding of combat medals. The exhibit will also provide in-depth coverage of lesser-known events and service, such as that of the USS Mason, the first American ship to have a predominately African American crew.

    SPEAKER SERIES

    In conjunction with the Fighting for the Right to Fight exhibit, Heroes Hall will be offering a speakers series on a variety of topics related to Black history as well as the struggle of other groups such as women, Latinos, and Japanese Americans.

    See artifacts and images from the exhibit and learn more at righttofightexhibit.org.

    EVENT: OPENING CEREMONY

    Join us for the grand opening of Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II. The event will feature speakers, performances and kids activities.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    When: Saturday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m.
    Where: Heroes Hall Museum at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa


    The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom, and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or visit nationalww2museum.org.

    Heroes Hall Museum is a permanent, year-round museum and education center with exhibitions, performances and educational programs that celebrate the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation. The two-story exhibition space will rotate themes semi-annually with each focusing on an aspect of the personal stories and experiences of veterans. Heroes Hall is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit ocfair.com/heroes-hall.


  • January 27, 2022 (4:11 pm)

    OC Fair Board votes to fly PanAfrican flag in honor of Black History Month in February

    OC Fair & Event Center celebrates and welcomes all communities. Today the OC Fair Board voted to approve the Community Affairs Committee’s recommendation to adopt a policy to fly the PanAfrican flag at OC Fair & Event Center each February in recognition of Black History Month.

    A flag-raising ceremony is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. at the OC Fair & Event Center administration building and all are welcome. 

    This is the full text of the resolution that was approved:

    RECOMMENDATION The Community Affairs Committee’s recommendation to the Board of Directors is to approve the proclamation and resolution below, and adopt a policy to fly the Pan-African flag at the OC Fair & Event Center each February in recognition of Black History Month.

    BACKGROUND PROCLAMATION AND RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE 32ND DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION REGARDING BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND THE EQUAL REPRESENTATION OF DIVERSITY PRESENTED AT THE ORANGE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS

    WHEREAS, the mission of the 32nd District Agricultural Association (the “District”) is the celebration of Orange County’s communities, interests, agriculture and heritage; WHEREAS, the District recognizes and affirms the Black/Afro-American community as one of the communities that makes up the fabric and heritage of Orange County;

    WHEREAS, in fulfilling its mission, the District is proud to celebrate the Black/AfroAmerican community;

    WHEREAS, February is observed across the United States as a month to recognize, educate, and celebrate the history of Black/Afro-American contributors to American history, infrastructure, politics, entertainment, education, business/entrepreneurship, science/technology/engineering/math, anthropology/culture, and global civil/human rights movements; and

    WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the District recognizes the Pan-African/Black Liberation flag as a symbol of welcoming and inclusiveness of the Black/AfroAmerican community specifically and of all ethnically diverse communities generally;

    NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Directors of the District hereby proclaims February as Black History Month at the OC Fair & Event Center;

    FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the District hereby reaffirms the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and nondiscrimination as core institutional values of the District and the OC Fair & Event Center;

    FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors hereby reaffirms its policy prohibiting discrimination by the District on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, and, in proclaiming Black History Month at the OC Fair & Event Center, expressly notes that this prohibition applies to discrimination against any person on the basis of their race, ethnicity, or nationality; and

    FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors hereby directs that the PanAfrican flag be flown every February henceforth alongside all official flags that are displayed on the District’s property, as a symbol of the District’s belief in the equal dignity of all persons who visit the Fair’s grounds and of the District’s commitment to welcoming and including people of all backgrounds and identities to the OC Fair & Event Center; and

    FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors, in the continued belief in the equal dignity of all persons who visit the Fair’s grounds and commitment to welcoming and including people of all backgrounds and identities to the OC Fair & Event Center, hereby proclaims that no community member be left in the dark, unrepresented by the OC Fair & Event Center.


  • January 25, 2022 (10:44 am)

    OC Fair & Event Center earns Western Fairs Association honors

    Western Fairs Association honored  OC Fair & Event Center with 19 Achievement Awards at its annual convention in Reno this month.

    First-place awards included the new fair exhibit, California Fresh, and new children’s program for the OC Fair’s Experience the Great Outdoors exhibit. Other honors included the fair theme – Time for Fun – the fair logo, fair TV commercial, Junior Livestock Auction and several first-place photography awards. OCFEC also received second-place honors for agricultural programming. 

    Western Fairs Association is a trade group supporting the fair and festival industry.

    OC Fair & Event Center earned the following awards:

    Single Television Ad

    1st Award and Judges’ Choice 

    Fair Logo

    1st Award

    Year-Round Logo

    1st Award

    Special Event Logo

    1st Award and Judges’ Choice 

    Virtual & Live Auctions

    1st Award for pre-Fair Junior Livestock Auction

    Agricultural Programming

    2nd Award for Centennial Farm’s partnership with Don Knipp, a.k.a. “Mr. Fertilizer,” and La Verne Nursery during the 2021 OC Fair

    Theme Program

    1st Award and Judges’ Choice for Time For Fun and its  programming during the 2021 OC Fair

    New Fairtime Exhibit 

    1st Award for California Fresh: Celebrating the Bounty Of Our Counties

    New Children’s Program

    1st Award and Judges’ Choice for Explore the Great Outdoors

    Give It Your Best Shot: Animals

    Two 1st Awards

    Give It Your Best Shot: Carnival

    Two 1st Awards, Award of Excellence – Overall Best Photo, and Award of Excellence – Third Best Overall Photo

    Give It Your Best Shot: Exhibits

    1st Award and 2nd Award

    Give It Your Best Shot: Entertainment

    1st Award and 2nd Award

    Give It Your Best Shot: People at the Fair

    1st Award and 2nd Award


  • January 19, 2022 (2:31 pm)

    Jim Gaffigan, Kool & the Gang headlining this summer; plus, annual craft beer fest to return to 2022 OC Fair

    OC Fair has announced more if its 2022 summer entertainment lineup. Live music performances at Pacific Amphitheatre include Kool & the Gang with Sister Sledge on opening weekend, and Jim Gaffigan on Aug. 4.

    Also performing during the OC Fair at The Hangar: Elton – The Early Years – A Tribute to Elton John, Dog N Butterfly – The Heart Experience and The Long Run – Experience the Eagles. OC Brew Hee Haw, the annual craft beer festival, will return this summer at a new venue: Action Sports Arena.

    Tickets for these shows will go on sale Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster.

    COMING TO PACIFIC AMPHITHEATRE

    Kool & the Gang with Sister Sledge
    July 15, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
    Tickets are $39.50-$79.50

    Get ready for a dance-filled summer night with Kool & the Gang and special guest Sister Sledge. Formed as a jazz ensemble in the mid-’60s, Kool & the Gang became one of the most inspired and influential funk units during the ’70s, and one of the most popular R&B groups of the ’80s after their breakout hit “Celebration.” They’ll follow Sister Sledge, the sibling vocal group behind the anthem “We Are Family.”

    Jim Gaffigan
    Aug. 4, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $55-$95

    It’s about time for some belly laughs. Jim Gaffigan is a five-time Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, best-selling author, two-time Emmy-winning top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling recording artist. He is known for his unique brand of humor, which largely revolves around his observations on life. Gaffigan recently released his seventh stand up special, Quality Time, with Amazon Studios, making history as their first original comedy special. He also continues to tour around the world.


    COMING TO THE HANGAR

    Elton – The Early Years – A Tribute to Elton John
    July 21, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    Accomplished musician and vocalist, Kenny Metcalf recreates the multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar in each and every performance. Dazzling outfits, stunning vocals, and a spectacular backing band complete this reproduction that brings the audience on an adventure of both sight and sound.

    Dog N Butterfly – The Heart Experience
    July 29, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    Created in late 2003, Dog N Butterfly is a five-piece band dedicated to bringing their talent and love of Heart’s memorable music to the stage. Complete with retro-inspired costume and dance, Dog N Butterfly performs all the ’70s hits as well as the chart-toppers that brought Heart back into the lime light in the ’80s.

    The Long Run – Experience the Eagles
    Aug. 4, 2022, 8:15 p.m.
    Tickets are $20-$25

    The Long Run is a hard-working tribute act from Los Angeles dedicated to faithfully recreating the timeless music of The Eagles. Marked by lush harmonies and exceptional musical accuracy, every performance delivers a reverence for the beloved Eagles recordings, blended with TLR’s own live-concert personality.


    COMING TO ACTION SPORTS ARENA

    OC Brew Hee Haw – A Craft Beer Roundup
    Tickets are $50 (GA) / $60 (VIP) / $25-$30 (no-alcohol tickets)
    Session 1: July 15, 6 p.m. (VIP) / 7 p.m. (GA)
    Sessions 2: July 16, 12:30 p.m. (VIP) / 1:30 p.m. (GA)
    Sessions 3: July 16, 6:30 p.m. (VIP) / 7:30 p.m. (GA)

    Following another record-breaking year, the 8th Annual OC Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup will return to the OC Fair on July 15 & 16, 2022! In addition to delicious unlimited beer tastings, each session will include entertainment with epic themes in their genres by some great live music. Band information to be announced, so stay tuned!

    Tickets to these shows go on sale to the public Saturday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster. Tickets to concerts occurring during the OC Fair include same-day admission to the OC Fair. The 2022 OC Fair is July 15-Aug. 14, open Wednesday-Sunday. Advance tickets are required.


  • December 27, 2021 (8:03 am)

    CEO Michele Richards named top influencer of 2021 by OC Register

    Congratulations to OC Fair & Event Center CEO Michele Richards on being named one of the most influential people of 2021  in Orange County by the OC Register.

    “Michele Richards

    As CEO of the OC Fair & Event Center, Richards helped shepherd the return of the OC Fair during the coronavirus pandemic with several sold-out dates. Even with caps on attendance, the fair turned a profit in 2021.”

    Read the full article:

    Most influential: Meet Orange County’s 125 top influencers for 2021

     

     


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