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Fairground celebrates Legacy bricks

DEL MAR — More than 75 people gathered at the San Diego County Fair’s Plaza de Mexico on opening day, June 7, to see their new Don Diego Scholarship Foundation legacy bricks paving a path to the Legacy Brick Fountain.

The 200 bricks installed to date celebrate past and present Don Diego scholarship recipients and board members. Others were purchased by Fairgrounds employees and by people whose families have enjoyed special moments at the fair and racetrack. Inscribed with names, images and fun quotes (“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel” – E.B. White), each brick tells a story.

Among the celebrants were Don Diego Chairman Paul Ecke III and his daughter, Polly, as well as three generations of the (Brenda) Larson family, who shared their memories of Grandma and Grandpa at the races. Shoja Naimi, co-owner of Roxy’s Restaurant in Encinitas, took a quick break from his Roxy’s booth at the fair to admire his brick. Naimi’s niece, Eliza Naimi, qualified for her 2014 Don Diego $1,000 employee scholarship by working at Roxy’s booth for her uncle and her dad, Shahran Naimi.

Don Diego Executive Director Chana Mannen said, “The legacy continues. We encourage fairgoers to visit the fountain and purchase their own piece of fairgrounds history. You can custom-design an attractive brick any time at  HYPERLINK “” Proceeds benefit our foundation’s programs, which carry on our region’s rich agricultural traditions.”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984. The foundation has awarded more than $640,000 in college scholarships and grants for agricultural education since its inception in 1986.