Baldomero and Elia Arce honored with the Theodore Winters Award

Baldomero and Elia Arce are being recognized with the Theodore Winters Award for their dedication to the annual Festival de la Communidad. The Arces will receive their award at the Toast of Winters dinner, along with the other winners. The event will take place on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Winters Community Center. Tickets are still available. Contact the Winters Chamber of Commerce for more details.
Photo by Emma Johnson

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Even when they’re being recognized for the contributions they’ve made to the community, Baldomero and Elia Arce give the thanks right back. The couple says that it is because the community has continuously supported them that they look for ways to volunteer their time for Winters.   “Everything is possible because of the support we have from everyone,” Baldomero says. This year Baldomero and Elia are being honored with the Theodore Winters Award. The award is given to Winters citizens who have made significant contributions to the betterment of Winters in the past year. This year Jesse Loren nominated them for their tireless work on the Festival de la Communidad. When they were first asked ten years ago if they would like to be involved with the Festival, Baldomero said he answered without thinking twice. “We are very proud to be involved with the community,” Baldomero says. They saw the Festival as a way that they could, “do their part” for the entire community. And they delivered. Baldomero and Elia have a hand in almost every element of the Festival. They help find chefs to participate in the Carnitas Cook-off, set up the stage, host their own booth and even provide entertainment. “If you need something done, ask Baldo,” Loren says. Even the day before the event when someone cancels, we can call Baldo and he’ll find a cook.” The day of the Festival starts early for Baldomero, who transports the flatbeds that become the stage from Mariani Nut Company to the Community Center parking lot. “It’s crazy to watch him help set up the competitive teams, then race over to his own booth for his own business, then race over to El Pueblo,” Loren says. “He’s everywhere.” Baldomero will even take the stage as a musician when needed. For the Arces, the Festival is one of their favorite ways to give back to the community. “We make everybody happy for one day,” Baldomero says of the Festival. “We are happy too.” Baldomero and Elia started their business in Winters nearly 15 years ago, but the concept for El Pueblo has been a family tradition for generations. Elia remembers her grandfather selling chicharrones, a fried pork belly dish, in his store, which was the largest in his town. Baldomero’s grandparents, parents and siblings all made their livelihoods on a family farm where they sold fresh meat, cheese, vegetables and meals. The couple had a plan to open a store in Winters where they could continue this legacy. Baldomero had a vision for a store where they could sell everything they wanted from the same building. They had a small market at 106 Main St., but they wanted to expand to a restaurant. They only needed to find the building. He was walking down Main Street one day when he noticed the “For Rent” sign in a window. The location was perfect, and the building had potential to become the business he had always planned to open. He was surprised and excited, because he felt that finding an available building in Winters was a stroke of good luck. When he called the number listed on the sign, he was surprised to be speaking to John Pickerel. Baldomero says that while he knew of Pickerel, they had never actually met. He believes that connecting with the Pickerels was the second piece of good luck he had finding the building, and says that the family has always been supportive of his business. Once they had the space, Baldomero and Elia could open the store they had envisioned. They started selling meats and meals prepared from recipes their grandparents had prepared. “Everything is a legacy from my parents and grandparents,” Baldomero says. Since their businesses opened they have sought out ways they could give back to the community that has supported them. “The community works best when people committed to building community are able to champion events and others,” Loren says. “Baldo is the perfect example of deep rooted community builders who often go unnoticed and unsung.” As for Baldomero and Elia, they plan to continue to give their efforts to the community for as long as they are able. The two like to support non-profits and give their time and resources to community events. “Thanks to the community for the support for so many years,” Baldomero says. “We’ll try to be here forever.”  ]]>

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