An estimated 150 persons sat at one long table stretching the length of newly renovated Fourth Street in downtown Ceres Saturday evening for conversation, some for wine and all for good food. The “One Table, One Community” event, sponsored by the Ceres Chamber of Commerce, was designed to celebrate both the newly revitalized downtown area and the Centennial of the Ceres city incorporation.
Sitting down at the long table – actually comprised of 26 six-feet-long tables stretching for 156 feet long – were a varied mixture of people.
“We saw a lot of familiar faces, people that we normally see at our event, but we did some people who we don’t normally see at our events so it was a nice combination,” said Renee Ledbetter, executive director of the Ceres Chamber.
The $25-per-person event started at 6 p.m. with a wine stroll which introduced or reintroduced the community to Fourth Street businesses which hosted stations where local wines produced by Berryhill Winery and Bronco Wine companies was served. Those preferring beer to wine were happy to see Ceres’ own Blaker Brewing products served at the event, Ledbetter said.
A buffet dinner started at 7 p.m. and included delectable tastings from local restaurants including Alfonso’s Mexican Grill, Family Pizza, Fired Up Grill, Hardy Appetitez On-Site Catering, La Cascada Mexican Restaurant, La Perla Tapatia, Mountain Mike’s Pizza and Pastas Pronto and the kitchen at Save Mart.
Fourth Street businesses were invited to remain open into the evening to host a wine station featuring a different varietal than the next. They included Farmers Insurance, Embroidery Plus, Flawless Salon, We Are the Artist Photography, Ceres Drug Store, Wells Fargo Bank and Rusty Nail.
A raffle capped off the night.
“It’s always nice to sit down to enjoy a meal and conversation together with family and friends,” said Ledbetter. “It was beautiful. It was really nice. The wind kind of kicked up and that was challenging but all in all I think it turned out to be a great event. Everyone that I spoke to and the comments I’ve been getting on Facebook have just been very positive. A lot of people are hoping we do this again next year. We’ll know more after our board meeting on Thursday if it’s something we want to pursue again.”
If the Chamber decides to host a similar event in the future, Ledbetter hopes to include the block of Fourth Street between Lawrence Street and El Camino Avenue.
The Chamber’s next big project will be the new 12 Days of Christmas shopping spree promotion. The Chamber will be seeking 12 to 36 businesses to participate in offering donated products for a raffle winner. Tickets will be sold at $10 with winners’ names drawn and announced Dec. 1.
“It’s all to encourage people to shop local,” said Ledbetter, who added the goal is to have $1,000 to $1,200 in gift cards or gift certificates made available.
“We’re encouraging businesses which can’t provide a service or something from their own business – like me, I can’t give someone a house so EXIT is going to sponsoring local gift cards so that when people go to shop they will shop locally for the holidays.”
The concept is to get Ceres residents more acquainted with businesses in Ceres.
The Chamber will soon be seeking nominations for new board members and in place for the annual November retreat, said Ledbetter. The positions will not start until Feb. 1.