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By Breeana Greenberg

The Pop-Up Shoppes, Dana Point Entertainment and Arts Council and the City of Dana Point will bring a new holiday event to Del Prado in early December, offering residents a chance to get shopping done while supporting small businesses and local makers.

On Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., “Sleigh the Holidays” will feature more than 100 small businesses along Del Prado, from Violet Lantern to Ruby Lantern.

Sergio Bindel and May Ratana founded the Pop-Up Shoppes two years ago with the goal of engaging local communities and showcasing small vendors.

The two knew many vendors that were struggling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and after supply-chain disruptions left some shoppers struggling to get items they ordered online, Bindel and Ratana saw an opportunity to lift up local businesses.

“We saw that there was an opportunity in that to like, ‘Hey, let’s support local business and help these local people in our community, makers and creators,’ and then, you get your stuff right then and there; you don’t have to wait for it to come from the boats,” Bindel said.

Sleigh the Holidays will be the biggest event that the Pop-Up Shoppes has ever done, Bindel said.

“We’ve had an amazing team by our side and amazing volunteers,” Bindel said. “We couldn’t do it without them. It’s really a team effort here.”

The Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary and the Dana Hills High School Interact Club have helped to supply volunteers for the event, said Todd Wallin, the Dana Point Entertainment and Arts Council’s executive director.

In addition to the local artisans and small businesses, the event will also feature caroling, live bands and DJs, themed cocktail bars and street food.

“We’re going to be showcasing over 100 local small businesses, plus we’re supporting all the businesses that are on the street of Del Prado,” Bindel said.

The event’s organizers hope attendees “support local and create lifelong memories in the process,” Arts and Culture Commissioner Ashley Keene said.

“The original idea behind creating this event was to bring people out to shop from small businesses or shop local and try to do more of their holiday shopping from the local community, rather than Amazon,” Keene said.

Shoppers will have the opportunity to have all of their presents wrapped for the holidays at the event’s gift-wrapping station.

Sleigh the Holidays will also feature a toy drive, pet parade and unique “Santa’s Workshop” kids’ zone.

At “Santa’s Workshop,” attendees can decorate cookies and ornaments and play with artificial snow. The kids’ zone, located in the United States Postal Service parking lot, will feature bungee trampolines, face painting and more.

“Shopping local, small businesses should be fun, should be a good time, so we’re trying to kind of tie the two together and make it a celebration,” Bindel said.

Kid’s Bash OC, a new kid’s event company that provides immersive event experiences, will be running the kid’s zone. 

Kid’s Bash OC Owner Shana Zeitoun launched the company as a way to bring wonder and immersive experiences to the events she saw in the community. 

“I’ve always been like a party-planner-type mom and I’ve planned parties for my kids and for friends,” Zeitoun said. “I just absolutely love bringing wonder and color and theme to having fun and celebrating.”

Sleigh the Holidays will be Kid’s Bash OC’s first event in Dana Point, Zeitoun said. 

“We are showcasing two large booths for the holidays. We’ll have one gift wrapping booth … and we’ll also have our Kid’s Bash booth for ornament decorating activities,” Zeitoun said.

The retail displays will also feature scented, natural playdough for kids. With Kid’s Bash OC’s display, families will be able to decorate ornaments and craft at tables set up in the kid’s zone. 

“The booth is going to be decorated to inspire a wondrous Christmas feeling,” Zeitoun said. “We have these interactive snow globes that will be set on the table and gingerbread goodie boxes will be set all around the tables and the retail displays.”

At Sleigh the Holiday’s kid’s zone, Zeitoun hopes that families feel like they’re walking into a Christmas, gingerbread wonderland. 

“I really want the kids and families to feel that they have entered in a sort of Christmas world and have left our real world,” Zeitoun said. “So, I really pull on the imagination of kids specifically. That’s what I want them to take from the event, is just what it feels like to be fully immersed in a theme.”

Dana Hills High students will kick off the music on Sunday with Christmas carols before walking around Del Prado singing carols to shoppers.

The event will also feature three “Sleigh Bars” offering craft, holiday cocktails throughout the evening.

For $25 per person, attendees can join the “Naughty List,” offering a VIP experience during the event. From 2-6 p.m., those on the “Naughty List” will have the chance to sample spirits and local restaurant offerings.

VIP wristbands are available to purchase at eventbrite.com.

The Grinch may even make an appearance in the VIP lounge, Bindel said.

A portion of the proceeds from the Naughty List will benefit the Dana Point Entertainment and Arts Council.

The organizers hope that attendees walk away with a sense of community, celebrating the holidays together.

“We’re all just excited to live in a community where people want to do stuff like this and it’s encouraged, and the city supports it.” Keene said. “I’m just very happy that we’re trying to do more and more of these kinds of things and that this will be the first event of its kind in Dana Point.”

“I want people walking away thinking, ‘I love where I live,’ ” Keene said.  

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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