Downtown’s Magical Christmas event’ held last Saturday

December 18, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

It seemed like everyone braked for Santa Claus as he strolled Main Street during Saturday’s Downtown Merchants’ Magical Christmas event where throngs of shoppers visited the array of businesses in the historic Central Business District.

The event, sponsored by the Santa Paula Downtown Merchants Association, offered a walking map with the locations of more than 20 merchants offering event specials as well as eight businesses to stop at to compete for prizes, including a flat screen TV.

There were hundreds of visitors that showed they were down for the Downtown and it’s full day of fun shopping and other activities.

SPDTMA President Debbie Johnson admitted to coaxing Santa from The Arc to stroll Main Street.

“I had to run and buy more candy canes,” said Johnson. “People driving by would see Santa,  park, jump out of their cars and have their kids pose with him for photos. People were having so much fun!”

And that included merchants who enjoyed the influx of Main Street shoppers and lookie-loos.

At Santa Paula Salsa, Burma and Butch Baselice were trying to keep up with the customers including Leslie Cornejo of Oxnard who was buying a customized case of what is becoming America’s favorite condiment.

The Railroad Avenue bottling company and retail store was one of eight special stops where visitors had to have their maps marked to qualify for the afternoon prize drawing. 

“Oh, we’re getting people in for the signature and a lot of people are buying,” and using the generous event discount, said Burma.  

Anne Forsyth was buying salsas to include in Christmas gift boxes to send to out of state relatives.

Although some of her relatives, “Really like the hot stuff,” Forsyth admitted, “I’m a mild girl...”

Things were far from mild down the street at the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum’s Suzanne Soprano was busy with shoppers crowding The Best of VC Marketplace Gift Shop.

It was the same on 10th Street Santa Paula Art Museum Gift Shop where volunteer Cathy Metelak said the foot traffic “Has been wonderful! And then people look around and are amazed at the museum and all the wonderful art. We’ve had a great flow of people,” who perhaps stopped in for a signature but were drawn to the art.

There were also shoppers among signature seekers at the California Oil Museum where several shoppers were deciding on which rocks-no coal! -to purchase as stocking stuffers. 

Remnants on Mill was doing a brisk business with their new line of jewelry and Bee-Loved Florist was seeing poinsettias fly out the door. 

“It’s been wonderful!” said Debbie Eastman of the festive shoppers, some who stopped with the children at the adjacent SuzCreates for some holiday ornament making.

Fria had special vendors just inside with everything from custom stationary and greeting cards to warm throws and stuffed animals for a little browsing while enjoying some yogurt. 

Up and down Main and side streets everyone was happy from merchants offering specials on unique gifts to shoppers, some new to the historic Downtown Business District. 

Barbara Kroon of the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce was in charge of the table where people exchanged their fully initialed walking map for a raffle ticket for one of seven prizes.

“I keep hearing from people they didn’t know what was in Downtown Santa Paula,” and Kroon said many said they’d be back. “People loved the event and several said that we should do this more often!”

In all, about 80 people entered the contest and once the prizes were awarded Johnson thanked the crowd for visiting Downtown Santa Paula and urged all to visit again.  

“We really hope you enjoy our Downtown and see how much there is to do,” amid a slower-paced small town atmosphere free of large crowds, where public parking is plentiful, there are numerous fine restaurants and snacking places and dozens of shops offering unique gift items for the holidays. 

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