Kendra Dominguez of Modesto has always had a joy of putting on social events for her family and friends. Inspired by the movie “Hitch,” she wondered if she had what it took to host an event like speed dating in a place like Turlock. With the help of Sergio and Esmeralda Gutierrez of Taqueria La Primera on 144 S 1st St. in Turlock, she made her vision a reality.
On April 29, the Gutierrez’s opened the doors of their restaurant for Dominguez to host her first ever speed dating event. The inaugural event saw 22 local singles participate, which was an even number good enough to keep a steady 11 couples socializing for the entire night.
“I was so nervous,” Dominguez admitted. “I had a vision in my head of what I wanted, but I just wasn’t sure it was going to play out that way. Once I saw everybody actually show up and they were having a great time, it was amazing.”
According to Dominguez, there have been multiple couples from the first speed dating event who have continued to maintain relationships, which has made it all worth it for her.
“I love relationships of all kinds, whether it’s intimate or its friendships. I love to see people connect. I think it’s so fun,” she said.
Melody Santiago is a close friend of Dominguez and was one of the 22 people who showed up to the event to not only support her friend, but experience the speed dating for herself.
“It was such a fun time, and that’s the most important thing for me,” Santiago said. “You don’t even have to be looking for a long-term relationship. I love to meet new people and have good times, and that’s what happened. It’s becoming less and less common that people connect outside of social media, so this was a good change.”
It was also a change for Taqueria La Primera owner Sergio Gutierrez. He explained that he has hosted a number of events at his restaurant such as themed music nights, but never anything quite like speed dating.
“We’ve always had events, but never speed dating,” he said. “But I’m open for anything new, especially with her. I trust her (Dominguez). I have good friends that pitch something good, I go for it. It was cool and it was different, and I think Turlock needs something different like that.”
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, Dominguez is planning on hosting another night of speed dating, this time with a few modifications.
“Literally everybody said they had an amazing time, but there were a few who said that it would’ve been better if there was someone closer to their age,” Dominguez shared.
Based on the feedback, that is exactly what she is planning for the upcoming event on July 29. For this particular event, there is a set age range of those aged 36 to 49 with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The meet-and-greet session will kick off at 7 p.m. with the official speed dating timer starting at 8 p.m. Drinks will be available for participants to order, with everybody being treated to free music from DJ Matt Esco.
For more information on the July 29 speed dating event, those interested are encouraged to contact Dominguez at @CalSocialGroup on Instagram and Facebook.