Moreno Valley Mall, often viewed as a fading retail destination, witnessed a vibrant resurgence with the arrival of the FOODI.E Days festival. Held from August 18th to August 19th, this event aimed not only to rekindle public interest in the mall but also to showcase the rich cultural tapestry of the Inland Empire in one dynamic setting.
The festival, according to its website, promised a medley of attractions, including live music, street vendors, food trucks, and craft beer offerings. Open to the public, the festival spanned from 2 pm to 11 pm, granting ample time for visitors to explore the diverse array of vendors that had set up shop.
A multitude of vendors participated, with names like Good Day Brew CO, Papas El Guero, and Urmainsqueeze tantalizing taste buds with their delectable food and drink offerings. Live music provided a lively backdrop for festival-goers to enjoy alongside their culinary indulgences.
The event was a culinary carnival, boasting an assortment of treats from sweet desserts to colossal baked potatoes piled high with toppings. A variety of drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, complemented the diverse food options. The parking lot was transformed into a bustling food haven, bustling with stalls and food trucks eager to serve the eager crowd. FOODI.E Days proved to be a success on multiple fronts. It not only provided a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for attendees but also drew attention to the local businesses, including those within the mall itself. Even those who did not attend the event were reminded of the mall’s presence, resulting in increased foot traffic—a victory for all the participating vendors.
Moreno Valley, often grappling with a less-than-ideal reputation, has seen its share of challenges. However, events like FOODI.E Days hold the potential to reshape perceptions of the town and shine a spotlight on businesses that could benefit from community support. This festival breathed life into the Moreno Valley Mall, which has faced a decline in recent years. Numerous areas within the mall have remained unused, and it has struggled to keep pace with modern retail trends. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant portion of the mall was repurposed as a vaccination site—an indication of its underutilized status.
While the transformation of part of the mall into a little-known furniture store has left some underwhelmed, the arrival of FOODI.E Days has rekindled hopes of revitalizing this once-iconic shopping center. It serves as a reminder that if the mall continues on its current trajectory, it might face closure or redevelopment.
The town of Moreno Valley, buoyed by the success of events like FOODI.E Days, appears poised to reinvigorate its old gems like the Moreno Valley Mall. The hope is that such efforts will usher in a new era of vibrancy, attracting more visitors and, perhaps, even heralding a much-needed upgrade for the mall. Change seems to be on the horizon, and there is a palpable sense of anticipation in the air.