September 28, 2023
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Good Works: Planes of Fame announces new air museum in SM Airport


Santa Maria-based Planes of Fame Air Museum announced that over 60% of its campaign goal to develop a new Museum Campus at the Santa Maria Airport has been raised, the nonprofit said on Jan. 17.

According to the 501(c)(3), it has raised $7.5 million of its $12 million goal so far. A benefactor has also agreed to match new campaign dollars raised after Jan. 17, up to $1 million.

Lead donors so far on the campaign include Dan Friedkin & Family, the Clay Lacy Foundation, Lewis Air Legends, Charles Somers, Jim & Jane Slattery, Foster Stanback, Walt Bowe and Lilja Corp.

“We are thrilled to have the Planes of Fame expanding to the Santa Maria Airport.” Kerry Fenton, interim airport manager, said in a press release. “We partnered with Planes of Fame last year to bring back the Central Coast AirFest and look forward to continuing to work with them on future air shows and educational programs.”

The 2022 Central Coast AirFest, in partnership with Planes of Fame, had record breaking attendance of over 18,500 guests and brought visitors from around the world, including over 4,500 youth attendees.

Founded in 1957, the mission of Planes of Fame is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor veterans and pioneers of aviation.

The Santa Maria Campus will serve as an expansion to the museum headquarters that is located at the Chico Airport and will also support POF flight operations as a base for its maintenance program.

Annually, the museum’s 25 flight program aircraft perform in over a dozen air shows, provide memorial flyovers, give rides, and are regularly used in photography and film work, such as the recently released film “Devotion,” the nonprofit said in its press release.

“The Santa Maria Airport is an ideal location for an auxiliary base to support our flight operations. It is only about an hour’s flight from Chino Airport allowing us to easily rotate aircraft between the two locations.” Steve Hinton, museum president, said in a press release.

“We believe flying our historic aircraft is a great way to honor our veterans and inspire young people’s interest in aerospace and the importance it has played in world history.”

The development will also offer STEM education opportunities along with tourist appeal and revenue generation for the region.

Construction will begin in 2023 and the project will be about 23 acres. The hope is to have the museum open by 2025. It will include a large central aircraft display hangar, a restoration and maintenance wing, and an event hangar for educational and public programs. The visitor center at the front of the building will include a lobby, gift shop, offices, and other visitor amenities such as seating and restrooms.


San Luis Obispo-based Jack’s Helping Hand is celebrating its 16th anniversary in 2023. The nonprofits’ goal is to provide community programs that meet the unique challenges of children with cancer of special needs who are under the age of 2021.

In the new year, the Jack’s Helping Hand aims to open its new equestrian center at the Jack Ready Imagination Park.

In addition to the horse barn, hay bay and maintenance building, the group also built a multi-purpose classroom, two arenas for its little riders’ program and more.

Recently, on Jan. 5, the nonprofit was recognized at the Cal Poly women’s basketball home contest against Cal State Bakersfield. Over $3,000 was raised for the Jack’s assistance program.


Santa Barbara-based MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation, will be hosting a Happy Hour to kick off 2023 on Jan. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Guests will be able to explore all three floors of the exhibits, including the MOXI Arcade and rooftop sky garden with panoramic city and ocean views.

Space is limited but tickets are on sale now at Price is $14 per person with beer and wine available for purchase.

Guests can add on a glass etching workshop for $7 which will also come with a souvenir glass.

MOXI will also be hosting happy hour events on April 14, June 23 and Oct. 23.


Ventura County’s academic competitions are returning in person this year, but local support from the community is needed.

The Ventura County Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial and Science Fair will be held on Jan. 28, Feb. 6 and March 24, respectively.

On average, more than 400 volunteer judges and scorers are needed to support the 2,500 students who participate, the Ventura County Office of Education said.