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Join Us at the Gala & Sam Hunt Concert

Seating is limited so reserve your seats today!
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June 24, 2022 Don Diego Gala Was “The Center” of Attention at the Fair

Guests at Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s June 24, 2022 “Reunite & Celebrate” Gala and Sam Hunt Concert at the San Diego County Fair were the very first event-goers to enjoy “The Center” at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Although the venue was indoors, the evening’s stars shown brightly as, one by one, Don Diego’s Class of 2022 Scholars sharing a total of $55,000 in college scholarships took to the stage to receive their awards from donors and tell the enthusiastic audience where they were headed: Duke, Purdue, South Dakota State, Cal Poly and UC Davis, among other universities; and their intended careers, including biomed scientist, conservation officer, interior architect, and even Don Diego’s first chef.

Table sponsor Francie Shewmaker and board member Stephen Shewmaker, Silver Sponsors Shari Schenk, Sydney Schenk, and board member Frederick Schenk, board Treasurer George Karetas

Top Scholar Ethan Rockwell, who won three scholarships totaling $11,000, spoke on behalf of his 17 peers as he told 200+ attendees, “We thank the donors so much for this high honor. The money will help immensely and we appreciate your faith in us.”

Before heading to the concert, guests mingled with students, enjoyed a gourmet dinner, and celebrated as presenters shared the incredible 36-year journey of the organization and equally incredible journey of retiring inaugural Executive Director, Chana Mannen. Among the many tributes, she received a proclamation from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declaring June 24, 2022 “Chana Mannen Day throughout San Diego County.”

To kickstart fundraising for future scholarships, unique items were auctioned off, including autographed guitars by Trace Adkins and Toby Keith, a blue ribbon lamb, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Turf Club memberships, and an AKC English Cream Golden Retriever puppy. The dog was purchased by the Rossi family who, in honor of the scholarships their twin sons Skylar and Carson received, named him Don Diego.

The Class of 2022, front row: Kyra Chen, Darby Gallagher, Madilyn Golden, Rachel Rapue, Julia Bellavance, Anna Sohn, Monica Ferris, Abigail Cotton, Alyssa Arias, Marianne Sadik. Back row: Carson Rossi, Will Warner, Ethan Rockwell, Charles Dilts, Pauldean Gevarges, Skylar Rossi
Not pictured: Amelie Simpson, Keleigh Williamson

Capping off a festive evening after a two-year pandemic-caused hiatus, new Executive Director Ashley Colburn McCaughan thanking Gala guests, saying, “Your presence tonight and your ongoing contributions have enabled Don Diego to continue providing transformative scholarships and agriculture education opportunities to so many people, including myself, a 2005 scholarship recipient. We have much to celebrate as we look back and much to anticipate as we look ahead.”

Photos from the 2022 Dinner & Concert Gala!

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Join Us at the Gala & Sam Hunt Concert

Seating is limited so reserve your seats today!
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Photos from the 2019 Dinner & Concert Gala!

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2022 Don Diego Gala Will Be Held at the Fairgrounds’ New Venue:
“The Center!”

Guests attending Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s exclusive June 24, 2022 Gala and Sam Hunt Concert at the San Diego County Fair will be the first to experience the debut of the fantastic new Del Mar Fairgrounds’ venue: “The Center”.

Gala-goers enjoy all-day preferred parking, a hosted beer and wine bar, gourmet food stations, and a 35th anniversary Don Diego celebratory program; all culminating in VIP Grandstand seating for country music star Sam Hunt.

The Gala will also feature Don Diego’s 2022 college scholarship recipients, who will mingle with guests and donors, and receive recognition for their achievements.

Saying the Board is delighted to present the premiere event at The Center, Don Diego Chair Juanita Hayes states, “This year’s event is very special as we reunite three years after our last Gala and celebrate 35 years of building a better San Diego, one scholarship at a time. We have many surprises in store and encourage people to buy tickets before the event sells out.”

Enjoy the return of the San Diego County Fair!

Attire: Country Western Suggested

4:00PM Gala Reception
Fabulous Gourmet Food Stations
Hosted Wine and Beer
6:00PM Gala Program
Presentation of 2022 Scholars
Tribute to Retiring Executive Director Chana Mannen
Live Auction
Paddle Raise
7:30PM Concert Starring Sam Hunt
VIP Corona Grandstand Stagefront Seating

Your Generous Support Benefits Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s Scholarships and Programs

Each Gala Ticket Purchased Includes:

  • Fair Admission (all day)

  • Preferred Parking (all day)

  • Gala Reception

  • Gala Program

  • Sam Hunt Concert


Gala Tickets

Individual ticket(s). Tables seat 8. After June 13th, ticket price increases to $350.


Student Sponsorship

Sponsor a student to attend the Gala.


Become a Gala Sponsor

Sponsors receive Gala tickets, special recognition and the gratification of knowing they are helping deserving students pursue their college and career goals.

I cannot attend.

Please accept my donation.

Your Ticket Purchase Is A Donation

to Don Diego Scholarship Foundation. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded $1,191,000 in scholarships to nearly 300 outstanding, deserving students who are associated with activities at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, including the San Diego County Fair.

Meet Our 2022 Scholarship Recipients!

Board of Directors

Juanita Hayes, Chairman

John Hoeflich, Vice Chairman

Dee Prestininzi, Secretary

George Karetas, Treasurer

Lisa Barkett
Alyson Connelly
Sandra DiCicco
Glenn Drown
Susan Farrior
Joe Harper
Kirby Morrison
Frederick Schenk
Stephen Shewmaker
Alysha Stehly

Chairs Emeritus

Paul Ecke III
Roxana Foxx
Jon Liss

Gala Co-Chairs

Susan Farrior
Roxana Foxx
Juanita Hayes

Executive Director

Ashley Colburn McCaughan