■ By Halima Haider / Editorial Assistant
The Hemet-San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce and Golden Village Palms RV Resort hosted the triumphant seventh annual Taste of the Valley and “Business Expo” event on Monday, Jan. 30 at the Golden Village Palms RV Resort on Florida Avenue in Hemet. About 1,350 people attended. Local businesses in tow with a slew of participating eateries ranged from museums, salons, medical facilities, academic institutions, and more.
“Due to a high volume of demands from growing participants each year, we will most likely need a larger venue to host the event at some point,” said Michael Carle, celebrated Chamber board member and general manager of Golden Village Palms RV Resort. “It’s vital that we continue to connect people from all walks of life to the incredible local businesses in our Valley, which not only helps the businesses thrive, but also stimulates the economy.”
The free event was inducted into the Chamber some three years prior, to which it enjoyed smaller, more humble crowds. A myriad of Valley businesses joined this year’s hit event which was commensurate with a buffet of savory foods and libations. All of which were provided by vendors promoting their businesses. Each vendor operated from its respective booth.
Restaurants that set up shop included Maze Stone Restaurant of the Soboba Country Club, Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro, Harvard Street Bakery, Café DJ, Sweet Baby Jane’s, Fish Hut, Jimmy John’s, Los Vaqueros, Healthy Hangout, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Walmart Neighborhood Market and Sizzler’s, among others. Mega Liquor Store also participated and gave out free samples of local wines and beers from breweries within the Inland Empire area.
“It was hands down the best event I have yet attended,” said Patricia Yepremian, owner of Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro. “Literally, hundreds of people attended and pretty much all vendors ran out of food samples. Our booth was definitely one of them.”
Honorary guests included Hemet-San Jacinto Chamber CEO Andy Anderson, Hemet City Councilwoman Karlee Meyer, Hemet Mayor Linda Krupa, Hemet City Manager Alex Meyerhoff and San Jacinto Councilwoman Crystal Ruiz.
Non-culinary businesses included Altura Credit Union, Hemet Valley Medical Center, VIP Autos, Western Science Center, Aflac, BBVA Compass Bank and Best Western Hotel. All of the businesses –– from dental offices to Mt. San Jacinto College –– handed out information all through the event in a dogged effort to promote their line of work; no speeches were given.
With tourism on the rise in the San Jacinto Valley, this year’s Taste of the Valley enjoyed “snowbirds” from Canada, Washington, Idaho and Utah. In addition, residents from such neighboring cities as Murrieta, Menifee and Temecula attended.
“Golden Village Palms is looking forward to a fantastic year in tourism,” said Carle. “We enjoyed a successful Paint Nite event last year. Because of its huge turnout, we are setting up another one in the near future in collaboration with the Chamber.”
To stay current with Hemet-San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce events visit: http://business.hsjvc.com/events/calendar