s we entered the fall months, the season kicked off with the Visalia Chamber of Commerce’s Oktoberfest. This year’s sold-out event of 1,500 attendees featured some of the Central Valley’s top food, wine and beer at Vossler Farms. Congratulations to Kaweah Brewing Co., which won Best Beer for its Holy Toledo IPA, Downtown Rookies Sports Bar of Visalia for Best Booth Decorations and Visalia Firefighters Association, whose chili won Best Food. Thank you to all vendors who participated. Don’t miss out on next year’s event, set for Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.

The fall Jr. CEO program will conclude with Hot Chocolate Day on Nov. 6. Students who participated in the program will apply what they learned and open their businesses across Visalia. We invite Visalians to come out and support our local young entrepreneurs! A map of locations will be available at visaliachamber.org/ceo.

Leadership Visalia hosted its November Day Session on Planning and Land Use. The day included guest speakers ranging in topics from zone districting, land-use policies and future economic growth. The 2021-22 Leadership Visalia cohort has officially partnered with College of the Sequoias Career Technical Education and the Fashion Merchandising Department to work on this year’s community-based project. This year, the focus will be on implementation of a mobile career closet for students from the college district who are interested in expanding or updating their wardrobes for a potential job interview. Details of the project are in the planning stage with a goal of publicly introducing the mobile closet to the community in the late springtime.

Join the Visalia chamber at the Speakeasy for the 40th annual Christmas Tree on Dec. 3. The chamber has partnered with a production company, Expo Events & Tents, on this year’s event, which will feature creative surprises and an opportunity to gather in support of local charities. Don’t miss out! All tickets are on sale, including general admission, and are going fast. Since tickets were released, lounges have sold out, and 50 percent of VIP tickets are sold. You may find tickets by visiting the chamber’s website, visaliachamber.org/cta.

As we enter the final months of 2021, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce reflects on a year filled with the continued impact on businesses. Still, it celebrates the opportunity of getting back to time-honored traditions. We are proud to be a catalyst, convener and champion of local businesses by providing strong leadership opportunities, platforms for strong connections and advocacy efforts for a strong business community.