NICEVILLE — Northwest Florida State College’s 50th anniversary celebration begins with a free kick-off assembly next month.

NICEVILLE — Northwest Florida State College’s 50th anniversary celebration begins with a kick-off assembly next month.

The free event runs 9-10 a.m. April 17 in the college's 2,100-seat Raiders Arena, 100 College Blvd. Doors open at 8 a.m. and close when the arena reaches seating capacity, which is on a first-come-first serve basis. Enter through the Raider Club doors at the arena’s south side.

Doolittle Raiders

The event will feature the dedication and opening of a permanent Doolittle Raiders historical exhibit being constructed in the arena’s lobby. The college will honor three of the surviving WWII Doolittle Raiders crewmembers. NWFSC has used the Raiders name for its athletics mascot since the early 1960s.

Doolittle Raiders will be unavailable for autographs during their appearance.

After kick-off, a Doolittle Raiders exhibit will be open in the arena lobby until 4:30 p.m. The exhibit will contain several items from the college's collection of items owned by Raiders airmen, authentic memorabilia and reproductions including two commissioned scale models of the USS Hornet and a B-25 plane.

Permanent hours are Monday through Friday during regular college business hours and when the arena hosts athletic games or other college events.

Other celebrations

Anniversary events will continue through August 2014 at the former Okaloosa-Walton Junior College.

Other highlights include a poster design contest in progress. Open to all, the deadline to submit an entry is April 1, with an $800 honorarium for the winning design.

An Oct. 12 gala will feature the national touring show "This Is The 60's" — a live concert that combines film, lighting, multimedia imagery and high-concept stage design with vocalists and the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Supremes, Monkeys, Janis Joplin, Temptations, Cream, The Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel and more. Tickets will go on sale in July.

See for all anniversary news and information.