Category Archives: Heroes Hall

  • Thursday, March 25, 2021 (11:08 am)

    Dates announced for 2021 OC Fair!

    Today the OC Fair announced dates for the much-anticipated annual event – July 16- Aug. 15. The theme is “Time for Fun,” celebrating the joy of the return of Southern California’s favorite summer festival.

    “We are grateful to plan for an exciting, and safe, OC Fair this year,” said OC Fair Board Chair Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia. “This milestone will allow the community to come together to celebrate the future and generate much-needed opportunities for economic development and growth in Orange County. The Board and staff have done a fantastic job of responsibly managing our finances and preparing to meet safe reopening guidelines to not just make it through the pandemic, but to emerge resilient and ready for 2021 and beyond.”

    OC Fair officials have been working closely with public health agencies to develop protocols to keep fairgoers safe while bringing back carnival rides, fair food, entertainment, competitions, animals and more to fair fans. The plans for the 2021 OC Fair are based on health agency projections for the summer, but could change if warranted by public health conditions.

    Advance ticket sales will be required and limited capacity will give fairgoers more elbow room. The number of concessions, rides and shopping vendors will be reduced and spaced out to provide more distance between each. Admission tickets will go on sale May 1 on

    “We have worked through many different scenarios for the 2021 OC Fair and we are so excited to move forward with this plan because it means that we really can bring back the fun, and that’s why I love this year’s theme,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “We want everyone to continue to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated so we can finally celebrate summer together again.”

    The Fair Board voted to keep ticket prices at the 2019 OC Fair rates, $12 general admission and $7 for children and seniors on weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday), and $14 general admission and $7 for children and seniors on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The current plan is for the fair to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, as it traditionally has been. There is a change to move Friday into weekend pricing and OC Fair will absorb the online ticket sale fees.

    Announcements regarding concerts in Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar will be coming soon.


  • Monday, November 16, 2020 (3:33 pm)

    Heroes Hall interior temporarily closes to comply with county’s COVID-19 response

    Heroes Hall veterans museum at OC Fair & Event Center will be temporarily closed starting Nov. 17 to comply with Orange County’s COVID-19 response.
    Outdoors, Heroes Hall’s Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor remain open so visitors can learn about local veterans who served their country and see the Skyhawk aircraft what was installed outside the museum last year.
    The Heroes Hall Virtual Museum is also available for visitors to read the stories and see photos and memorabilia of Southern California veterans anytime online.
    Nearby Centennial Farm, the fairgrounds’ year-round working farm, is open by reservation for self-guided tours. Centennial Farm hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission and parking (donations welcome); masks and reservations are required and COVID-19 safety protocols are in place. To reserve a time to visit, go to
    The new Heroes Hall exhibit, Private Charles J. Miller: WWII Paintings from the South Pacific, will reopen when the Orange County Health Care Agency deems it is safe for Heroes Hall to welcome back indoor guests.
    Featured is the visual diary of Miller, who chronicled his military service in the South Pacific theater during WWII. He was a self-taught artist who had been drawing throughout his lifetime, teaching himself perspective, anatomy and drawing and painting techniques.
    For more information, visit
  • Monday, November 9, 2020 (10:26 am)

    Heroes Hall’s Carol Singleton chosen as a Veteran of the Year

    On November 11, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris will be honoring six veterans as 2020 Veterans of the Year.

    Petrie-Norris said, “The opportunity to celebrate real American heroes reminds us that we have much more in common than we do at odds. The ties that bind us together are so much stronger than the forces that seek to tear us apart.” 

    The veterans were nominated by fellow community members from the Assemblywoman’s district and recognized for their service in the armed forces and in our communities. Their service records span from World War II to current active duty, and are reflective of the diversity and wealth of experience in our district.

    Join in to watch a virtual ceremony on Veterans Day on Facebook live at 11 a.m. 

    2020 Veterans of the Year

    Carol Singleton, Costa Mesa
    US Army

    David Hayward, Huntington Beach
    US Air Force

    Mohamed Omar Diab, Irvine
    US Marine Corps

    Anthony Michael Page, Laguna Beach
    US Army

    Gary Bain, Laguna Woods
    US Air Force

    Nancy Ise, Newport Beach
    US Navy


  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020 (11:21 am)

    Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall veterans museum ready to reopen on Nov. 3

    Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall veterans museum at OC Fair & Event Center are set to reopen to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Visitors must make a reservation in advance.

    Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall will both be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last reservation accepted at 2 p.m.; group will be allowed to stay until 3 p.m.). Parking is free and available through Gate 1 off of Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. Admission to both venues is free and masks are required.

    “We are very excited to welcome our guests back to Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “These venues are really the heart and soul of our fairgrounds year-round and we have all missed doing what we do best – educating and entertaining. I know our animals at the Farm are especially anxious to see visitors again.”

    This will be the first chance for visitors to see the new exhibit at Heroes Hall, Private Charles J. Miller: WWII Paintings from the South Pacific. Through his watercolor paintings and sketches, Miller, of the U.S. Army, shares his story of a soldier’s experience during World War II in the South Pacific. He used limited resources – from large sheets of paper to the insides of cigarette cartons – to create powerful works of art. The exhibit is on loan from The Wright Museum of World War II in Wolfeboro, NH. To learn more, visit

    OC Fair & Event Center’s top priority is the health and safety of guests and staff. Visitors will be required to make reservations in advance so the number of guests can be limited. No walkups will be permitted.

    Before entering, guests will check in at the Wellness Booth for temperature checks. Hand-sanitizing stations have been added and regular cleaning will be conducted throughout the day.

    To reserve a time to visit Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall, go to

    Food or drinks are not allowed but bottled water or water in enclosed containers is permitted. More information can be found on the FAQ page.

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

    At today’s OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors meeting, Director Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia honored the heritage of Hispanics in Orange County with a presentation highlighting many significant contributions in myriad fields, including agriculture and the military.

    We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month alongside all who continue to nourish, lead and forge the way to the future.

    We look forward to reopening to the public soon and will invite everyone to visit the Table of Dignity near Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall and to support our agricultural partners.

    The Table of Dignity pays tribute to and exemplifies the struggles, perseverance and accomplishments of the many Hispanic workers who provide sustenance to our nation every day. At Heroes Hall, we tell the stories of veterans and show how their sacrifices have provided us with hard-fought freedom.

    Thanks to the offices of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, Congressman Harley Rouda and Senator John Moorlach who showed their support by presenting certificates during today’s meeting.

    View Director Rubalcava-Garcia’s presentation

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020 (7:05 pm)

    Browse our Heroes Hall Virtual Museum Collection

    Our veterans museum Heroes Hall is typically open year-round, but unfortunately we’re currently closed. So we put together a Virtual Museum collection of stories and photos of local veterans for you to browse online.

    Please join us in honoring the brave men and women of Orange County who served our country.

    Heroes Hall Virtual Museum

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 (9:52 am)

    OC Fair Board cancels 2020 Fair due to pandemic

    The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors voted unanimously today to cancel the 2020 OC Fair, one of the most anticipated and enduring summer celebrations in Southern California for 130 years. The Board considered ongoing guidance and updated information from State and County health care and government officials about the status of the coronavirus pandemic and the improbability that mass gatherings like the OC Fair could safely and responsibly take place this summer.

    In addition to the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Board called a second April meeting specifically to review all options and discuss whether or not to move forward with the 2020 OC Fair. The action comes amid unprecedented community stay-at-home and social distancing orders and will protect guests, vendors and staff during the COVID-19 crisis.

    “The decision to cancel the 2020 OC Fair was not taken lightly by the Board. As Governor-appointed representatives the Board has a responsibility to provide a safe experience to the community-at-large, the hundreds of people who depend on county fairs for their livelihood, fairgoers and OC Fair staff,” said Board Chair Sandra Cervantes. “While many of our guests have expressed extreme disappointment over the idea of the 2020 Fair being canceled, we strongly believe it is the right thing to do in this current situation. However, we will keep the spirit of the OC Fair alive with virtual fair concepts such as contests, competitions, entertainment and concessions to bring the fair experience to guests through and social media.”

    The 23-day OC Fair welcomes more than 1.3 million fairgoers each year and has an estimated economic impact of $350 million annually. The Fair was canceled 1942-1947 during wartime, but otherwise has been a summer staple since 1890. Information on refunds for concert tickets and Super Passes that have already been purchased can be found at

    “We love the OC Fair as much as our guests do. And, while it’s disappointing that the Fair can’t take place this year, we fully support the Board’s decision,” said Michele Richards, OC Fair & Event Center CEO. “But please know OC Fair & Event Center will still be here to serve the community as we plan for the next OC Fair and the eventual return of our wonderful events.”

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 (7:16 pm)

    OC Fair & Event Center closes property until further notice

    (Updated June 11, 202o) 

    Out of an abundance of caution and to help stem the spread of coronavirus, OC Fair & Event Center announces a full public closure of the facilities, including Heroes Hall Veterans Museum, Centennial Farm, Equestrian Center and the administration building lobby until further notice.

    OC Fair & Event center will continue to follow public health directives.

    The following events previously scheduled to take place at OC Fair & Event Center have been impacted: 

    • Orange County Market Place – weekends, canceled until further notice
    • Farmers Market – Thursdays, canceled until June 18
    • OC Wine Fest – June 13-14, canceled
    • BrideWorld – June 14, canceled
    • OC Market Place Taco Fest – June 20, canceled
    • Costa Mesa Speedway – June 20, canceled
    • FamFest – June 20-21, canceled
    • Pacific Symphony – July 4 & Aug. 21, canceled
    • 2020 OC Fair – July 17-Aug. 16, canceled
    • SoCal World Guitar Show – Aug. 22-23, canceled
    • Irish Festival – Sept. 5-6, canceled

    The following is a list of events originally scheduled for earlier this year that have been rescheduled for a later date: 

    • AAOC Trade Show and Conference – March 26, postponed to Sept. 10
    • Mom Made Market – March 28-29, postponed to Oct. 10-11
    • Fight Club – April 9 & June 11, postponed until Oct. 15 & Nov. 12
    • OC Marathon – May 1-3, postponed to Nov. 6-8
    • OC Night Market – May 8-10 & May 15-17, postponed to Oct. 23-25 & Oct. 30-Nov. 1 

    For a complete list of upcoming scheduled events, please visit

  • 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.