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  • Richard Persons, Retired Santa Maria Fairpark CEO, Joins the Santa Maria Museum of Flight Board of Directors

    Persons Brings Decades of Event Production Experience as the Museum Plans for a Future with Expanded Activities and Events

    SANTA MARIA — Richard Persons, recently retired CEO of the Santa Maria Fairpark, has joined the board of directors of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight as the museum turns its attention to re-opening and presenting new events and activities. 

    The Museum of Flight has struggled due to restrictions on its activities caused by the pandemic but has recently been allowed to re-open in a limited capacity. As its board of directors plans for the future, an expansion into more outdoor events is anticipated in order to expand the availability of the museum’s displays. 

    Museum CEO Esmeralda Mendoza said that Persons’ expertise in event production will be an asset in developing the museum’s expansion plans. “We’re thrilled to have Rich join our board because he has so much knowledge of planning and production of all types of events.” 

    Persons, who recently retired after six years at the helm of the Santa Maria Fairpark, is now a partner at Persons/Kress Consulting. The company provides knowledge and expertise in all aspects of event production. He has been active as a founding member of the Central Coast Airfest advisory committee, and also is a board member of the California Fairs Alliance. A pilot and aircraft owner since 2003, he has more than a thousand hours of flight time and keeps a Glasair experimental airplane at Hancock Field. 

    Persons said, “I’ve really enjoyed working with the Airfest committee the past three years, and I look forward to helping the museum bring more events with an aviation theme to the airport. It can be a really unique place for events that people will enjoy and remember for the rest of their lives.”

    The museum has focused on indoor and static displays in the past, according to Mendoza, but aviation museums offer a unique venue for very memorable events of all types. The museum leadership is looking forward to expanding activities, even during the pandemic. “We don’t think we’ll ever be able to return to the same exact operations we had before at the museum, so this is a new and exciting direction for us,” Mendoza said. 

    She noted that the museum’s most spectacular aviation exhibits really are the airplanes on display, which tie into the history of Captain G. Allan Hancock Field.

    Since its founding in 1984, Santa Maria Museum of Flight’s mission has been to preserve the past and present the history of the aviation heritage in Santa Maria Valley, and to inspire future aviators. The museum promotes and supports general aviation though events and seminars that encourage individuals to explore the varied aspects of the history of aviation, from its infancy to current times. The museum attracts visitors from around the world.

    The Santa Maria Museum of Flight is currently booking holiday events for 2020 and 2021. Potential sponsors for the event space are encouraged to contact Mendoza at (805) 922-8758, and volunteers are always welcome. 

    For more information about Santa Maria Museum of Flight activities or to plan a visit to explore event possibilities, call (805) 922-8758, or visit smmuseumofflight.com. The Museum is currently open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for visits, and special tour arrangements can be made for other days of the week.