The Sacramento Host Breakfast is the brainchild of Sacramento banker Fred W. Kiesel, who saw the need for California’s leaders to meet face-to-face to exchange views and create statewide atmospheres of good will and understanding around a common table. As a director of the California Development Association, a predecessor to the California Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Kiesel was instrumental in the formation of regional councils throughout the state in the early 1920s. The purpose of the councils was to focus attention on problems of various parts of the state and to combat what was then a growing movement to split California into two or more states.
Mr. Kiesel believed the best way to promote statewide unity was to gather California decision makers from all segments of the economy to discuss their differences. He personally hosted and financed the first annual Sacramento Host Breakfast in 1926, then brought in a vice chairman for the next six breakfasts. The growth of the yearly breakfast led to the formation of a Host Committee in 1933 to carry out the objectives of the Breakfast. The press was invited to the 1933 breakfast; resulting news stories report that members of the California Chamber of Commerce (incorporated in 1929) were honored guests.
Today, the Host Committee comprises 28 business leaders from the greater Sacramento area. The Sacramento Host Breakfast features addresses from the Governor of California (a tradition since 1935) and the Chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Representatives from each branch of the military receive special recognition, as do members of the CalChamber Board of Directors. Other breakfast guests include leaders from business, industry and agriculture, finance, education, the military and government.
Another breakfast tradition is the use of California-grown fresh fruit, vegetables and foods as the major table decorations. The displays serve both as reminders of the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and edible mementos for guests to take with them when leaving the breakfast.
In conjunction with the longstanding participation of its Chair and Board of Directors at the Host Breakfast, the California Chamber of Commerce has provided staff support for the event, and now also shares in planning with the Sacramento Host Committee.
The Sacramento Host Breakfast has become a California tradition. There is no function comparable to it in any other state. The Host Committee hopes the objective of providing an opportunity for California’s leaders to meet and share views in an informal setting will continue to be accomplished in a nonpolitical, noncommercial way through the annual Sacramento Host Breakfast.