This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna
The Hollister Downtown Association held its 34th annual Street Festival and Car Show on Sept. 25, displaying 292 vehicles in addition to hosting raffles, vendors and live music. The event started on San Benito Street and extended onto Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets.
There were two entertainment stages, North Stage at Fourth Street and San Benito and South Stage on the Veterans Memorial Building Plaza. Power Chord, Dub Souljsh and The Vile Band played at the North Stage. San Benito Stage Company, Enterprise of Martial Arts, Pacific Pop ‘n’ Jazz and Animation Dance Community performed on South Stage.
Unlike 2020 when the festival was canceled because of the pandemic, local food businesses downtown were overwhelmed by the number of customers coming in. BenitoLink had a chance to talk to festival attendees. Several said they noticed the event as they passed by and had stayed longer than one hour. A man named Uriel said his three children were told of the festival at school and decided to come.
Residents of Watsonville and Salinas visiting Hollister said they enjoyed seeing the cars on the streets.
Bernardo Nuno, an Air Force veteran and teacher for 23 years, brought two vehicles to the festival including his 1965 Chevy BelAir. A Soledad resident who lived in San Juan Bautista for 15 years, Nuno proudly described the three-year journey of restoration with his stepson Brian.
Hollister resident Kevin Stopper showcased his car, which he won in a raffle for $30. The car was a Keeping Hot Rodding Alive Youth Group’s (KHRA) Project X, in which teens constructed a vehicle from scratch in under 10 months. He was also fundraising to support the youth organization that helped create the car.
The Downtown Association presented awards to 30 vehicles in these categories:
- Best of Show: Tomas Morale’s Gold 1965 Buick Riviera Grand Sport.
Morales’s vehicle will appear on next year’s Street Festival and Car Show shirt and posters.
- Longest Distance Traveled: Charlie Barton of Nampa, Idaho. He drove 720 miles.
- Best of San Benito County: Jesse Del Real of Hollister
- People’s Choice: Bernardo Nuno of Soledad
- Best Mustang: John Marfia, Jr.
- Memorial: Robert Mesa of Morgan Hill
- Best Paint: Lupita Martinez of Hollister
- Best Sassy Corvette: Dennis Acosta of Stockton
- Best Interior: Shawn Herrera of Hollister
- Best Engine Bay: Scott Nunes of Gilroy
- Best Original: John Oliveira of Hollister
- Best Exotic: John Reed of Hollister
- Best 1920s: Frank Rosa of Royal Oaks
- Best 1930s: Frank Crocco of Gilroy
- Best 1940s: Naz and Florence Martinez of Hollister
- Best 1950s: Dennis and Judy Burden of San Juan Bautista
- Best Classic: Larry and Debbie Tack of Salinas
- Best Late Model: Rafael Lopez of Hollister
- Best Muscle: Mike Ledterman of Scotts Valley
- Best Truck: Jim Gillio of Hollister
- Best Custom-Modified: Ray and Trish Lerma of Salinas
- Best Low Rider: Richard Deans of Hollister
- Best Rat Rod: Kevin Stopper of Hollister
- Best Rig: Keith Severson/Granite Rock of Watsonville
- Best Import: Joey Casarez of San Jose
- Best Mopar: Steven Palmer of Los Gatos
- Best GM: Dave Grimsley of Hollister
- Best Ford: Alfred Salcido of Hollister
- Best Impala: Elias Lizaola of Salinas
- Best Volkswagen: Al Rensen of San Jose
The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.
Help us bring on more interns! As a local nonprofit news organization, BenitoLink needs community support to continue developing important local programs like our youth and Latinx intern training program. You can keep it going strong by going to our BenitoLink donation page.