The last Monday in September may soon be declared an Arcadian Holiday, as this year’s Taste of Arcadia illustrated, no other city can quite compare to the festivities put on by the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. With more than 1300 in attendance Monday, September 26, 2016 it seemed as if nearly the entire population of Arcadia arrived prompt and ready at the gates of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on September 26, 2016. There they enjoyed the food and drinks of the 47 delectably diverse restaurant vendors, as well as the many deals and offers provided by the 40 businesses that participated as Business Showcase vendors. Putting on such an impressive gala couldn’t have been accomplished without the support from a wide range of sponsors that included Breeders’ Cup who sponsored the Beer Garden, Paco’s Mexican Restaurant/ City Cafe who sponsored the Plates, the City of Arcadia who sponsored our Gift Bags, Embassy Suites who sponsored our Volunteer Shirts, Danco/Johnson Products who sponsored the Taste of Arcadia Wine Glasses, the Arcadia Association of Realtors who sponsored the Tram and Shuttle service. Local Chef, Alex Reyes from the Saute Academy was invited to attend and judge the Culinary Contest at Taste of Arcadia.
Taste of Arcadia is currently the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce’s largest annual fundraiser, which helps to support its many activities during the year. The night is developed around the fundamental mission of the Chamber of Commerce which is “to play a critical and integral role in maintaining a healthy business environment, contributing to the economic growth of the city, and enhancing the city’s image.” A positive byproduct of this consideration towards business growth is the inviting nature of the event, which has in turn led to its great success in increasing attendance.
For over 45 years Arcadia has put on a large scale event which celebrates all their amazing city has to offer. Prior to the Arcadia Chamber’s involvement with Taste of Arcadia, it was previously put on by the Arcadia Tournament of Roses Association, and at that time during the 1970’s and 80’s the night was called the “Wine Shed Mixer.” In 1999 the Arcadia Tournament of Roses Association passed the responsibility of the event onto the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, who than moved the festivities to the racetrack under a new title, “Festival of Food at Santa Anita Park.” In order to illustrate the amazing features of the Arcadia community and businesses, as well as those businesses in neighboring businesses that participate heavily with the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, the night moved to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, in addition to this it adopted the new and currently used name, “Taste of Arcadia.”
In line with previous Taste of Arcadia, the night offered amazing food & drinks, entertainment, community awareness and business giveaways. This year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championship, which is being held for the 9th time at Santa Anita Park on November 4th & 5th sponsored the Breeders’ Cup Beer Garden. Features of the Beer Garden were Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 14 Hands Winery and Anheuser – Busch, who brought three of their famous brews as well as free Stella Artois glasses to early attendees. Keeping the night’s festivities going on well after dark was guest Deejay John Villa of Dance Syndicate, as well as live music from singer/songwriter Katie Ferrara and the band Memphis Mike and the Swinging 8-Balls.
Taking on the tremendous task of organizing the grandiose event was Arcadia Chamber CEO Karen Mac Nair. Accompanying her in this massive undertaking was Chief Taste Officer Andrew Cooper of the Arcadia Association of Realtors, as well as Staff Chief Taste Officer Alexandra Julia Bonilla, formerly of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. From initial set up of the event to final clean up, a team of dedicated and incredibly hardworking volunteers allowed the Taste of Arcadia to run without even the possibility of a hiccup to the guest’s experience. The day prior to the event The San Gabriel Volunteer Center helped in the delivery of all the necessary materials required to set up the next day. On the day before the event, the volunteers engaged in activities such as checking in everyone at the front gate, which was led by Megan Oppelt of Togo’s, to taking on the responsibility of the on site Grounds Crew, which was operated and run by Issac Taylor.
The success of Taste of Arcadia has inspired the team at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce to only dream bigger. Chamber CEO Karen Mac Nair illustrates a true passion in planning next year’s Taste which is confirmed for September 25, 2017 and sees only greater opportunity as this experience gave her the knowledge to truly understand the ins and outs of such an event.
‘Best of’ at Taste of Arcadia appointed by guest judge Alex Reyes of the Saute Academy:
Best Savory Dish bestowed to Villa Catrina for their Soft Tacos, Ceviche and Tostados
Best Dessert Dish bestowed to The Derby for their Warm Whiskey Bread Pudding
Best Food Presentation bestowed to the Courtyard Marriott for their grilled chicken skewer in a chili mole sauce
Best Lawn A Booth Display bestowed to Clearman’s North Woods Inn
Best Lawn C Booth Display bestowed to Max’s Mexican Cuisine
Best of Taste of Arcadia bestowed to Del Frisco’s Grille for their Ahi Tacos