Mon. Apr 15th, 2024


Take a Walk Through the Forties
‘Festival of Time’ brings history to life at the Great Park

IRVINE – Take a stroll through the 1940’s on a walkable historical timeline at the former MCAS El Toro and experience a pivotal era in world history. Outdoor displays of period autos and airplanes along with indoor performances, lectures and film screenings will invite visitors to discover the history of the land that is now the Orange County Great Park.

“Festival of Time: An Evening of History” is a multimedia event designed by the Great Park History Committee to explore how World War II changed American life. This carefully crafted evening of history takes place on Saturday, June 19th at 6:30 p.m. at the Great Park. Festival highlights including interpretive tours of the walkable timeline and a special screening of excerpts from the 1946 Academy award winning film The Best Years of our Lives designed to provide audiences with an informative and entertaining “living history” lesson.

“The Orange County Great Park History Program bridges the past, present and future of MCAS El Toro as the site transitions to the Great Park,” said Larry Agran, Chair, Orange County Great Park Corporation. “The Great Park is a place where people can experience Orange County’s rich history through programs like the Festival of Time.”

As visitors walk along a timeline of historic events painted on a former MCAS El Toro runway, tour guides, dressed in costumes from the era, will showcase significant world events from 1937 to 1950. Inside historic Hangar 244, Dr. Spencer Olin and Dr. Keith Nelson, founding professors of UC Irvine’s History Department, will provide perspectives on the social impact of global warfare via commentary stimulated by screened excerpts from the iconic film “The Best Years of our Lives.”

Students participating in California State University Fullerton’s El Toro Oral History project will perform “Homefront Memories” based an extensive archive of interviews with El Toro Veterans. In addition, Great Park Legacy Project photographers will display their work documenting the ongoing transformation of the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro into the Orange County Great Park, accompanied by news reels that will provide audiences with a sense of El Toro’s historical context.

“With this event we pay our respects to the place that the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro has in the hearts of all who have passed through the base,” said Gabriele Carey, Ph.D., director of the Orange County Great Park History Program. “At the same time, we connect that past to our current community and to the developing Great Park public history initiative.”

Complimentary soft drinks, coffee and cookies will be provided. Admission and parking are free, but reservations are required. Please respond and indicate number of guests by June 15th to Janis Dinwiddle at (949) 548-2411 or e-mail The Orange County Great Park is located off the 5 Freeway and Sand Canyon in Irvine. For more information, please go to

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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