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OC Fair & Event Center Celebrates Grand Opening
of Heroes Hall Veterans Museum February 15
Opening commemorates 75th anniversary of Santa Ana Army Air Base opening.
Costa Mesa, CA – After four years of planning and construction, the OC Fair & Event Center will officially open the doors to its new permanent veterans museum, Heroes Hall, on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. The grand opening marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base), the current site of the 150-acre event center.
Heroes Hall at the OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) celebrates the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation with a year-round tribute to their stories as told through rotating exhibitions, permanent exhibits and unique educational experiences. Heroes Hall will be open daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with free admission and parking.
Exhibitions will changes semi-annually and are housed in a refurbished two-story barrack building preserved from the original Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB). The inaugural exhibitions include:
- The SAAAB Story: OCFEC sits on land that once was part of the Santa Ana Army Air Base during World War II. This second-floor exhibit will tell the story of veterans, former SAAAB residents and celebrities Joe DiMaggio, Gene Autry, Joseph Heller and Don the Beachcomber in addition to special units such as the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Chinese National Air Force Detachment, Tuskegee Airmen, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Navajo Talkers.
- The Things They Carried: Based the book of the same name by Tim O’Brien, this first-floor exhibit will feature stories about Vietnam War veterans as told through text, photography, film, audio, digital media, art and personal items. Additional narratives and objects will be included from Orange County veterans from World War II up to current military involvement in the Middle East.
In addition to free public exhibitions, Heroes Hall will work in conjunction with the Orange County Department of Education to provide 11th-grade students a unique way to meet a California State Standard requiring them to study about the sacrifices of individual U.S. soldiers and the unique contributions of special fighting units. Heroes Hall is also partnering with Arts Orange County, Chance Theatre and Veterans First to be one of two locations for an eight-week theater workshop and showcase with veterans. The performance schedule is yet to be determined.
Outside the Heroes Hall exhibition building is the newly constructed Medal of Honor Courtyard and Walk of Honor. At the center of the Medal of Honor Courtyard is a 36,000-pound, 50-foot-wide cement star that is based on the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military honor awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Surrounding the Courtyard is the Walk of Honor, two semicircles of pillars with plaques honoring Orange County veterans who received distinguished military honors, local veterans who served in the Korean War, World War I and World War II, and local veterans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
Planning and construction of Heroes Hall was fully funded by the OC Fair & Event Center, which is the 32nd District Agricultural Association of California Department of Food and Agriculture. Educational programming and exhibitions will be supported by funds raised by the Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Information about how to become involved with the foundation and make a contribution is available at ocheroeshall.org.
For more information about Heroes Hall and to subscribe to periodic updates on programming and events, visit ocfair.com/heroeshall.
Heroes Hall is at the OC Fair & Event Center, which is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information about the event center, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500.