San Juan Bautista offers a passport to holiday shopping experiences

Third Street downtown district will stay open late Dec. 18 to assist shoppers.

The merchants and restaurants of San Juan Bautista’s Third Street shopping district are celebrating the holiday season in style on Dec. 18, by extending their hours until 7 p.m with a special shopping event featuring music, raffle prizes, special discounts, and even a visit from Santa. 

Visitors will be given a passport to be stamped at participating stores. Fully stamped passports will be entered into a drawing for an assortment of prizes donated by over 25 merchants, restaurants and craftspeople of San Juan. 

“I think it is a great chance for people to enjoy shopping in our small, beautiful community,” said Kristina Hastings, owner of Bliss Blendz. “Small towns need events like this to bring in people and I think the passport is a wonderful opportunity for people to sample all that San Juan Bautista has to offer.”

Hastings, along with many of the participants, is offering a special deal on Dec. 18 and will be giving away a bag of popcorn with every hot drink.

The Passport event was organized by Linda Ginn, owner of Vintage Rose Antiques, and Heliena Walton, owner of Notably Noble Co. and Thankful Co., with additional sponsorship by the San Juan Bautista Rotary Club. Patricia Bains, better known as “Mrs. B.,” will be celebrating at both of her Third Street shops, Mrs. B’s Z-Place and Mrs. B’s Z-Place #2. Santa Claus will be greeting children, giving out treats and accepting Christmas letters at the Z-Place parklets from noon to 4 p.m.

“It is wonderful to have a Christmas event again,” said Bains. “It really feels like we are coming into the light. I am looking forward to the excitement of the children and their parents as they are walking around with everything being open.”

Joining in the fun, the San Juan Barbershop will host face painting for children, Lois’s Unique Home Furnishings will have live music, and Utopia promises to throw a party.

Besides the grand prize chosen from completed passports, the merchants will also be selling raffle tickets. Prizes include gift cards from the participating businesses and local service providers. Several restaurants, including Inaka, Dona Esther’s, Jardines de San Juan, 18th Barrel, and The Smoke Point BBQ are also donating gift cards. J&S Barrels Slabs & Metals is donating a custom barrel. 

More prizes will be announced as the event draws closer.

“We had done a similar event a few years ago and it seemed like a good time to do it again,” said Walton. “It is all part of our effort to revitalize the town and all of the merchants were very receptive to the idea. I think things are coming together again for San Juan,” Walton said. “People are looking at us in a different light because they have seen how well we have responded to the problems of the last two years and we are hoping to intrigue them even more.” 


Participating businesses

The 18th Barrel

Bear’s Hideaway

Bliss Blendz

Dona Ester’s

Fool’s Gold

The Guatemala Boutique


J&S Barrels, Slabs, and Metals

Jan’s Rock Shop

Jardines de San Juan

Lois’ Fine Furnishings

Mrs. B’s Z-Place

Mrs. B’s Z-Place #2

Noble Co.

Notably Noble

Old Adobe Antiques


Pueblo Viejo Imports

The San Juan Barbershop

The Smoke Point BBQ

Sweet Pea Antiques

Troublemaker Toys and Comics


Vintage Rose Antiques


The Water Store

We Are Awesome


Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.