Saturday: Cookie Contest, Boutique, Santa and Downtown singers!

December 07, 2005
Santa Paula News

Cookie cooks and cookie lovers: Saturday is the day for the 2nd Annual Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association and the City of Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesCookie cooks and cookie lovers: Saturday is the day for the 2nd Annual Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association and the City of Santa Paula. The day of downtown fun will feature holiday singers, a visit from Santa and great holiday shopping, including just around the corner at the Santa Paula Society of the Arts’ annual Christmas Boutique at the historic Depot.The December 10 contest, which will feature a visit from that famous cookie maven Santa Claus, will be held at the Odd Fellows above Brownie’s Basement on Les Maland Plaza from 2 to 5 p.m. The Odd Fellows - which on Saturday is kicking off the celebration of the building’s centennial - has an elevator at the rear of the building on South Alley.Cookie competitors are asked to drop off three dozen of their favorite cookies and/or bars at the Odd Fellows between 2 and 3 p.m. The Cookie Competition will be just one of the holiday themed events held Saturday, December 10.Holiday music will be featured at Les Maland Plaza starting at 2 p.m. with the Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, followed by the Isbell Middle School Condor Choir led by Donna Nelson. Also making a musical appearance will be the Half-Notes, and other groups are being lined up to perform.Judging for the Cookie Competition will be at 3:00 p.m., and Vons gift certificates have been donated by the Downtown Merchants for the winners: 1st prize will receive a $100 certificate, 2nd $50 and 3rd $25. “Last year we had 28 entries,” said Debbie Johnson, past president of the Downtown Merchants Association. “Our downtown merchants have gone all out this holiday season and have wonderful items for sale... they’re looking forward to seeing those who are enjoying Saturday’s downtown festivities.”Santa will also be upstairs at the Odd Fellows from 2 to 5 p.m. and visitors are urged to bring cameras for photos with jolly St. Nick.
Downtown Merchants Association President Esther Marquez knows plenty about cookies. The owner of Crystal Bakery with her husband Joe, Esther Marquez said that holiday cookie and bar baking must be done with “enthusiasm, a sense of fun to see what you can create, especially when you’re going to be judged.”“The recipe is the secret,” to award winning cookies said Joe Marquez.“It’s creative and it’s nice to see when you create something that everyone likes it and you get compliments” on your creation, noted Esther Marquez. “For me, I like to try new things” when it comes to holiday treats, which have been featured at Crystal Baker since last week. “We’re hoping to get a good turnout for the contest,” she added. “It’s fun and people get a kick out of it.”People are also getting a kick out of the Main Street Holiday Window Display contest that - when night falls - turns the central business district into a dazzling winter wonderland. The contest carries prizes of $500 for 1st place sponsored by Centex Homes, $200 for 2nd place sponsored by 4 N Holdings, and $100 for 3rd place sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association. “Walk the block and see what people have” done to create unique and beautiful window displays, said Johnson.The Santa Paula Family Resource Center in the 900 block of East Main Street has a display featuring a whole family that was created by center staff and clients, and the Santa Paula Coffee Company has a unique display using coffee beans. “People need to take time, get out of their car and just walk and enjoy the decorations; the merchants have gone all out and it’s just beautiful,” said Johnson.Judging of the 23 official entries - although almost all downtown merchants got into the holiday spirit and decorated their windows - will be done at night when the window displays are shining their brightest.Don’t forget the Santa Paula Society of the Arts Christmas Boutique on December 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where unique works of art including small paintings, craft items, ornaments, cards, produce and baked goods will be available for purchase. Hot cider and cookies will be served while shoppers pick out their favorite items, all reasonably priced and created by outstanding area artists. The Depot, which holds the Santa Paula Society of the Arts Gallery and Gift Shop, is located at the corner of 10th and Santa Barbara streets.

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