San Diego County Fair

Don Diego, historic San Diego County Fair symbolDon Diego
Scholarship Foundation
and Annual Gala

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation provides financial support for deserving San Diego County college-bound students. The fund was formed in 1986 as a lasting tribute to Tom Hernandez, who, in the role of Don Diego, was the legendary host of the San Diego County Fair from 1947 until his death in 1984.


In his memory, the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was created to provide college scholarships for outstanding San Diego County high school students who have participated in the annual San Diego County Fair or other events associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Since the first scholarships were awarded in 1986, the foundation has distributed more than half a million dollars in scholarships and grants and has helped nearly 125 students pursue a college degree.

For scholarship applications, visit the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation website.

Commemorate a special person or occasion with a Don Diego Legacy Brick. These personalized bricks will surround the fountain in Plaza de Mexico. Purchase a Legacy Brick and find out more information on the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation website.

The main fundraising event each year is an annual gala that takes place at the San Diego County Fair. One way you can contribute to the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is to join the Amigo Club. For each $99 donation, you will receive:

  • The Best Pass Ever, unlimited adult admission to the San Diego County Fair
  • Unlimited Stretch Run admission to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's Racing Season
  • Four single-day admission passes to Surfside Race Place, the Fairgrounds' luxurious, Las Vegas-style race book
  • One admission to The Scream Zone in October
  • One round of miniature golf at Pelly's Mini Golf

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