Each year the L.A. County Fair honors Community Heroes – young adults and adults – from 18 surrounding cities during the 23 days of the Fair, Sept. 4 – Oct. 3. Friday, Sept. 17 is Azusa Day at the Fair, a day to celebrate the work of volunteers, humanitarians, students, neighbors and community organizations to make their city a better place to live.
Azusa Day festivities include a parade down Broadway and a presentation honoring Azusa’s Community Heroes for 2010, Thomas A. Gonzales and Richard Sotela on the Building 4 Stage following the parade.
Junior Hero Thomas A. Gonzales is a sophomore at Azusa High School, where he holds a 4.0 grade point average, performs with the Aztec Marching Band, Azusa High’s Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble and plays varsity golf. A diagnosis of autistic characteristics at age 4 did not stop his determination to excel. “Undoubtedly, it has only become a blessing to his character,” states Azusa Mayor Joseph R. Rocha. “Thomas is an inspiration to so many because he strived to do his best in everything he does.” Music has been important to Thomas since a very young age, and he plays trumpet and other instruments in various bands in a variety of musical styles. Mariachi music is a particular favorite, which he plays from his heart. He is a member of a professional mariachi band Mariachi Nuevo Ensueno. “He is always honored and willing to play to serve the community he lives in, and has been invited to play at various city events, including Veterans Day and Memorial Day services,” said Mayor Rocha.
Adult Hero Richard Sotela has served in the U.S. Army since 2001 with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He provides marriage counseling for young couples as they transition into the Army. Sotela helped establish a tutoring program to prepare high school students for ASVAB and SAT testing. He and the Azusa High School varsity football team planted trees and picked up trash in beautification projects for the city. “Richard has been involved in many endeavors in our community to help people help themselves and to help the environment,” said Mayor Rocha. “All of this while being a husband, father of two, a brother to three and a friend to many.”
Azusa residents, friends, family and supporters can join their community celebration on Sept. 17 for just $5 before 5 p.m. with a coupon or voucher available at lacountyfair.com. Coupons are also available at the Azusa Chamber of Commerce, City Hall and other community locations. Come for the Fair; stay for the community festivities: parade at 5 p.m. and hero presentation at 5:30 p.m.
The L.A. County Fair opens Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4 – 6 and then Wednesday – Sunday, Sept. 8 – Oct. 3, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Live thoroughbred horse racing at Fairplex Park will be Sept. 9 – Sept. 27, dark Mondays Sept. 13, 20 and Tuesdays.
For information about ways to save at the Fair, visit lacountyfair.com.
Under the direction of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Fairplex is home to the L.A. County Fair, the largest county fair in the world, as well as The Learning Centers which encompasses Fairtime Learning, The Child Development Center, The Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), the Junior Fair Board, and the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts. Fairplex also operates a diverse hospitality business with the Sheraton Fairplex, McKinley’s Grille, KOA RV Park, Finish Line Sports Grill, Cornucopia Foods, and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center (opening 2011). The campus is also home to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona; horse-racing and Barretts Equine Limited; as well as the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. For more information, please visit www.fairplex.com.