Members of the local business community, community leaders and members of the public gathered at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds this evening for the seventh annual Festiv'ALL.
"We're just trying to get people together," Anita Garcia, the event's manager said.
For seven years, Garcia said, the free event organized by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley has provided a place for a diverse cross section of community businesspeople to network and connect with each other and local consumers. Milpitas Chamber of Commerce has often been a big promoter of the event.
Held in a large convention space at the fairgrounds, the event included 100 exhibitors, 30 of whom provided free food and drink samples.
Anita Flores, Vice President and Branch Manager for Union Bank in San Jose has been coming to Festiv'All for years.
"The reason we do it is because of the diversity," Flores said.
"The networking is phenomenal, everybody is willing to share their business with each other," said Flores' colleague Ann Height, Senior Priority Relationship Manager at the Union Bank.
According to Garcia, she and other organizers expected at least 1,000 people to attend the evening's event, because about that many people registered online, though that may have been a conservative estimate.
Historically, Garcia said, about 2,000 people attended each year.
At one of the event's most popular booths, Moon Chien passed out miniature "bubble tea" drinks courtesy of Bar Code Café in San Jose, which he manages. Chien said that his café planned to give away about $500 to $800 worth of free drinks in an effort to reach new customers.
At another booth, Rick Gerhartdt, Membership Development Member at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce said that he has come to Festiv'ALL before, and typically walks away with about 100 new contacts, many of them with small business owners.
On a stage on the far end of the space, Chinese dancers and musicians, Hula dancers, and a jazz group performed.
People of all ages and races wandered the floor, sampling the food and talking with one another.
--Bay City News Service