In the age of COVID-19, there have been countless changes. However, much of life has stayed the same at a foundational level; it just has a new look.

Constituents need to be informed regarding their political leaders. Consequently, the chamber took events online to educate the community regarding current leaders and those on the November ballot. The State of the City event, conducted via Zoom, included updates from Tulare Mayor Jose Sigala, county Supervisor Pete Vander Poel III, Assemblyman Devon Mathis and state Sen. Shannon Grove. Tickets to the event included meal vouchers to a local restaurant. Additionally, the chamber partnered to present candidate forums, allowing voters the opportunity to learn more about the people vying to represent them. A forum was held for the 26th Assembly District as well as for candidates running for the Tulare City Council.

The Tulare County Fair is a century-old tradition and this year, it took on a new format as a drive-through. The event was the first of its kind held in California and it attracted 3,500 people per day. The Junior Livestock Auction sold 271 animals for a total of $764,000. Tulare County residents were still able to display their artwork, and people were able to get traditional fair food!

Shopping local is still important, possibly now more than ever. This holiday season, the chamber is putting extra emphasis on the importance of shopping local and encouraging others to do the same. This year just looks a little different because masks are required in businesses. Many local establishments, such as Hazel’s Kitchen, offer the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Supporting local keeps our residents employed, allows businesses to support the community, keeps the streets paved and parks beautiful, makes sure that our public safety departments are staffed, and does so much more!

During the holiday season, our need and desire to be social increases. With a goal of keeping the county’s COVID-19 numbers down so that businesses and schools can be open, the chamber continues to offer socially distant networking opportunities. Virtual mixers have been held biweekly and provide engagement opportunities and fun. Thank you to our recent mixer sponsors, Land O’Lakes, Tulare Rotary Club, JD Heiskell and Family HealthCare Network.

The Tulare Chamber of Commerce longs for the days of life pre-COVID-19, and if everyone works together, we will get there. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask so that business and life can get backto normal. Until then, please stay safe and shop local.