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By Emily Rasmussen
San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sergio Farias took a trip south of the border to the city’s newest sibling—Ensenada—for a ceremony with the Mexican city’s representatives.
Farias, who went with his wife, paid on his own dime for the weekend trip on March 10 to the sister city. The mayor said that he was impressed by the hospitality of Ensenada’s representatives and that he looks forward to developing the two cities’ relationships further.
“The thought was, at least when I got involved, it could be something with a real exchange,” Farias said on when the city began the sister-city agreement process. “We centered around culture, commerce and tourism. Ensenada has tourists and they also have a Mission, so do we. They’ve done a good job with preserving some of their historic buildings, so we have a lot in common.”
The visit was more ceremonial than official, since San Juan Capistrano finished legal paperwork declaring the sister-city agreement about one year ago, Farias said. However, Farias was not expecting the ceremony to be as formal as it did.
“(Ensenada representatives) expect everyone that they have relationships with to show they are very active with them, they don’t want it to just be paperwork. They want a real relationship,” Farias explained. “They were very formal, which I wasn’t used to even though my parents are from Mexico.”
Other than the signing ceremony at the Riviera Center for Cultural Arts with representatives including Ensenada’s mayor, Farias and his wife went around the city with locals, including attending a wine tour.
Going forward, Farias said he hopes to introduce Ensenada representatives to more parts of San Juan Capistrano, including his city’s wineries and the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center. Farias believes there is a lot to learn and develop with the new relationship.
“It could be beneficial for all of us,” he said. “The point is to bring commerce to both of our cities and to have it benefit both of us, with cultural exchange.”