Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/28/2009 06:45:58 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Big changes are said to be in store for the National Orange Show Events Center.

The Lewis Group of Companies – the development firm behind such projects as Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga and Sierra Lakes in Fontana – is scheduled to announce plans today for a major project at the center.

But the Lewis Group and Events Center management would not reveal any details Monday.

“It’s all going to be explained tomorrow (Tuesday),” Events Center general manager Dan Jimenez said.

The Lewis Group has been known to have an interest in the site since at least 2007.

The center is a 120-acre complex that is the regular site of events such as the annual National Orange Show fair and Pacific Rim International Wine Competition.

The complex is also home to a satellite betting center and motorcycle and auto speedways. Some of its most recognizable structures are the hangar-like multipurpose buildings and dome.

The center served as a haven for evacuees during the Slide and Grass Valley fires of October 2007. Hundreds of firefighters ate their Thanksgiving dinners at the facility while while waiting for a potential wildfire that didn’t ignite.

The center once hosted the Rolling Stones’ first-ever appearance in the United States but site has lost its appeal as a major venue and recently has been the site of numerous raves.

A riot erupted outside the center during the British Invasion 2K6 concert of March 2006. The riot erupted after police shot tear gas into the crowd in response to fighting at the punk rock concert. A number of concertgoers attacked police and vandalized businesses as they fled the area.