Valley Center is a census-designated place (CDP) in North San Diego County, California. Valley Center is a community in a small rural town. The community is largely based on agriculture and farming with a few gated communities. A close knit community, Valley Center is known for its “Western Days Parade” and annual Fourth of July fireworks display in the community park. Historically, the growth of Valley Center has been slowed by lower densities including a minimum of 2 acres being required for most parcels. Some changes in the community can be attributed to the expansion of Indian casinos in the area. There are currently two major casinos in the vicinity of Valley Center – Harrah’s Rincon and Valley View; both were opened in 2001-02, bringing traffic and jobs to what used to be an out-of-the-way agricultural town. High traffic necessitated highway improvements, partially paid by casino contributions. Despite these changes, there are still no chain department stores in the community; residents do their shopping in smaller “mom and pop” stores, and drive either to Escondido or to Temecula.
Traditionally, the town and the surrounding areas have largely been dedicated to agricultural uses. Various commercial crops include oranges, lemons, and avocados. More recently farmers have taken up other crops, including ornamental floral products such as lavender. Additionally, there is a thriving animal farming industry including egg-producing hens and llamas.
Once a year, parts of the town are closed down for an event known as Valley Center Western Days. This event is traditionally held over the Memorial Day weekend and consists of a community parade, a festival at the Valley Center Community Center and the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo. For the weeks leading up to the event, local organizations put on western-themed events and fundraisers.