Don Diego Chair Paul Ecke and daughter Polly

Don Diego Chair Paul Ecke and daughter Polly.


Del Mar, CA …      A gathering of more than 75 people took place on opening day of the San Diego County Fair for the installation of new legacy bricks purchased to help fund the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation. The bricks pave a path to the Don Diego Legacy Fountain at the Plaza de Mexico at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Currently there are 200 bricks installed.

The foundation was named for Don Diego, whose real name was Tom Hernandez, the fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947 to 1984. It has awarded more than $640,000 in college scholarships and grants to local students pursuing agricultural education since its inception in 1986. It invites people to make an investment that will pay dividends for students and the entire region.

The Don Diego Legacy Brick program enables purchasers to create a customized brick that will be permanently enshrined by the fountain. Some bricks celebrate past and present Don Diego scholarship recipients and board members. Many others were purchased by those whose families have enjoyed special moments at the fair and racetrack. Some are inscribed with names or quotes, others bear images. Brick prices start at $150. The purchase enables the foundation to continue providing educational scholarships and grants. Bricks can be custom-designed at any time on the foundation’s website.

Among the celebrants were Don Diego Chairman Paul Ecke III and his daughter, Polly. 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. Shoja’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.

For more information about programs and donation opportunities, visit

Published in the UT San Diego: