KING CITY — A few of the city’s finest community members were honored Saturday during the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture’s Annual Awards Dinner.
The March 2 ceremony, hosted at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds, recognized Steven and Cheryl Harrison as Citizens of the Year, The Stage Hands as Friend of the Community and Tacos La Potranca De Jalisco as Business of the Year for 2018.
Each of the honorees received a special plaque from Chamber President Melissa Grindstaff as well as certificates of recognition from local dignitaries for their contribution to the community. Among those present were Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, King City Mayor Mike LeBarre and King City Council Member Rob Cullen.
Steven and Cheryl Harrison were the first to be honored that night as the 2018 Citizens of the Year.
The Harrisons have been active members of the King City community for decades, serving on several local boards and committees and volunteering at various events throughout the area. Both were charter members of the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation.
While raising five children, Cheryl Harrison was heavily involved in the local schools, Little League and 4-H clubs in addition to the Monterey County Cattlewomen association. Last year she was named Honored Woman of the Year by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in King City, where she serves as the bishop’s warden.
Most know Steven “Doc” Harrison as a longtime doctor at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City, where he had a solo practice from 1989 until 2008, when he joined the residency program at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. In 2017, he was named Monterey County Physician of the Year.
“Cheryl and I really appreciate being thought of in the company of all the folks who have won this award before,” said Steven Harrison, after accepting the award with his wife. “If you go down the list of people who have been Citizen or Citizens of the Year over the years, there’s a lot of people who I’ve always respected and admired. … We’re just honored and proud to be considered among them.”
Founded in 1980 by a group of friends, The Stage Hands has produced such entertainment as singing telegrams, melodramas, musical reviews, readers theater, large stage musicals and the always popular dinner shows for the local community. A total of 55 shows have been performed over the past 39 years, all done as a “labor of love for the joy of entertaining,” the group said.
“In 1980, when June Houx and Bruce Graham and myself met, we had no idea that in 2019 we would still be here, so thank you for that,” said Cindi Reeve, one of the founding members of The Stage Hands.
While accepting the award for 2018 Friend of the Community, members of The Stage Hands performed a special version of the song “My Guy,” replacing the “my guy” lyrics with “Stage Hands.”
“Nothing you can say can take me away from Stage Hands,” the members sang. “Nothing you could do ‘cause I’m stuck like glue to Stage Hands.”
Lastly, Tacos La Potranca De Jalisco received its award for 2018 Business of the Year.
Owner Francisco Chavez opened the Mexican restaurant at the corner of Broadway and Second streets in 2001 after fully remodeling the interior, as it was out of health code. About a year later, he added a new customer bathroom and a remodeled dining room next to the building.
The restaurant’s first seven years were difficult, Chavez said, but once positive Yelp reviews began appearing online and word of mouth spread through social media, the business took off. In 2008, the restaurant added a catering service and continued its growth.
Now, with 17 part-time and full-time employees, Tacos La Potranca is booming. Along with visits by such celebrities as George Lopez and Will Ferrell, people come from all over to try the restaurant’s tacos and burritos, among other menu items, and its current Yelp rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars with 504 customer reviews.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone,” Chavez said. “We have been very blessed.”
Chavez expressed gratitude to the King City community, the restaurant’s landlords — the Pozzi family — and all of their customers for continuing to support the business.
“Thank you for all the support from our community,” he added.
King City Young Farmers catered the event, which also included silent and live auctions, a no-host bar from the Knights of Columbus and music provided by DJ Moises Perez.
More than $17,000 was raised during the live auction featuring Auctioneer Mackenzy Bailey and 13 items donated by the community. The item that received the highest bid at $3,250 was a prime rib dinner with beer and wine for 20 people, provided by the Young Farmers.
The Annual Awards Dinner is King City Chamber of Commerce’s premier fundraiser, with proceeds going toward chamber events and services for the business community.