The Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its Inaugural Cinco de Mayo Margarita Challenge at the Imperial Valley Fairgrounds Thursday, May 5, where we invited the community together to participate in a fun night of tasting different margarita recipes, dancing, playing carnival games, winning great raffle prizes, and more. A big hit that sold out fast were our custom designed Mystery Piñatas, filled with gift cards and prizes from local businesses. Awards were given for Judge’s Choice, People’s Choice, and Best Booth.
Voted favorite by five “celebrity” guest judges was Team Boozy Bites for their blackberry jalapeño signature margarita featuring a sweet and spicy rim of blue agave syrup and tajin. Boozy Bites is a new business based in the Imperial Valley owned by “Squid" Sidney Hollinger that specializes in tasty drinks, grazing boards, finger foods, and fun catering. Squid’s flavors and presentation led to her and Team Captain Michelle Hollinger taking home the title of Judge’s Choice Award. With delicious recipes like this one, we think this new business is here to stay! Of course, we had to let the people speak with the People’s Choice Award. Guests traveled through the festive building to taste test five carefully crafted signature margaritas. Some of the flavors included strawberry basil by President Anne Irigoyen and watermelon jalapeño by Sean Wilcock and the Los Vigilantes. Ultimately, people were buzzing with delight about the margarita created by Captain Sherry Cowie and her Prince & Associate’s team. They took home the prize with their signature honey margarita that featured a flaming rosemary sprig. You read that right, each drink was carefully crafted and torched to create a unique aroma of toasted rosemary that you smelled just before taking a sip of something sweet.
The final award was given for best booth, which was also the people’s choice since the judges did a blind taste test. Victor Nava and Jaysel Mendoza with Las Palmitas Taco Shop graciously accepted the award for this category with their decorative piñatas, colorful balloons, and ‘Cinco de Drinko’ banner, which elicited a giggle from several guests. In addition to their festive booth, their Amigo Rito was thoroughly enjoyed for its flavor and refreshing blended finish. And what would a signature IVRCC event be without the raffles, donations, and fundraising? Although the event was a fundraiser for the IV Regional Chamber, it is important to the Chamber to regularly give back and invest in the community. With May being Foster Care Awareness Month, 10 percent of the proceeds from the evening benefited CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Imperial County! In addition to sharing the proceeds, IVRCC also held a surprise auction for two mystery piñatas with fantastic surprises inside, of which, 100 percent of the proceeds ($450 dollars) went to CASA! Thanks to the generosity and support of the community members and local businesses, IVRCC hosted a muy bueno event! We’d also like to thank our event title sponsor Victoria Homes, Gold Sponsors: Burgers & Beer, Bari Smith Consulting, El Centro Motors, Silver Sponsors: Les &Terri Rogers, RoGar and Manufacturing, Inc., Fiesta Sponsors: Valentina Estes with Benchmark Mortgage, Jasmin Rodrigues with State Farm, TWG General Contractors, Inc., Nana’s Kitchen, El Zarape Restaurant, and Piñata Sponsors: Imperial Valley College, KXO Radio, Imperial Printers, and Imperial Valley SBDC.
We can’t wait to see you all for our next event, until then ADIOS!