Valdosta Daily Times

November 11, 2012

Merry Marketplace: A holiday shopping extravaganza

Elizabeth Butler
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Eighty-five vendors from six southern states will showcase their products ranging from women’s clothing and jewelry to handmade wooden toys to Christmas decor at the Merry Marketplace Nov. 17-18 at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center.

“Merry Marketplace has been the official kickoff of the holiday season in South Georgia for nearly four decades,” said Holle Roberts, show co-chairman with Jennifer Steedley.

“Merry Marketplace is the place to find that special something for everyone on your list — (a) one-stop destination for all of your holiday gifts and decor.”

Some of the new vendors for this year’s show are T3 Outdoors, Southern Sass Originals (T-shirt vendor), IM WITH Love Designs from Hahira, selling neat, refurbished furniture, and Horse Creek Winery, offering gift baskets and wine. Gayla’s Grits will also be there selling its natural stone-ground grits and olive oil.

Returning favorites include Paulette’s Best Foods Inc., bringing secret spices and salad dressing mixes to add a little pep to your traditional recipes; La Dee Dah Art, selling original designed, hand-painted wall canvases, growth charts, and personalized holiday items; Sweet Acre Farms, The Tin Bucket, Greek Row, and Elli’s Boutique.

The general show is from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for children. Children under 3 are free.

“Again this year, we are welcoming military families to the show for free on Sunday with a military ID,” Steedley said.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or from Country Cobbler, 1st America, Girardin Jewelers, Hogan’s Pharmacy, Only Options, Perfect Settings, Rockin’ Robin, Steel’s Jewelry, Dr. Carly Thomas, and Tin Bucket/Sew Blessed.

Limited tickets will be sold for the Sixth Annual Preview Party Benefit set for Friday, Nov. 16. The Market Preview will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m., followed by a Holiday Soiree from 8:30 p.m. until.

Admission allows the ticket holder first chance to shop the limited merchandise offered at the show. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be offered, and the band, Sold at Auction, will provide live entertainment.

“VJSL would like to thank all our sponsors and donors for making this benefit possible again this year,” said Preview Party chairman Anne Rickert. “We would especially like to thank Prince Chevrolet for graciously being our Premier Platinum Sponsor again this year.”

VJSL will continue its tradition of holding a silent auction of “beautifully decorated” Christmas trees and wreaths. The Christmas trees and wreaths are professionally decorated by local designers and will “greatly enhance” any home or office during the holiday season. As an added bonus, Steel’s Jewelry will donate a piece of jewelry with each tree that is auctioned off so that you can not only enhance your home or office, but yourself or loved one as well.

“Those attending the preview party will also be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to participate in a fabulous jewelry giveaway sponsored by Girardin Jewelers,” Rickert said. “With every ticket sold, Girardin Jewelers will graciously donate a backpack to Hungry at Home. Only 200 tickets will be sold for $50 each.”

Tickets for the Preview Party are $35 per person or $60 per couple and may be purchased at Steel’s Jewelry and Girardin Jewelers.  

“A portion of the proceeds will be given to Hungry at Home, a local charity dedicated to ‘bridging the gap’ between school and home so children do not have to be hungry while away from school,” said VJSL President Elizabeth Oliver.

In addition to the Preview Party, the service league is hosting a “Children’s Character Breakfast” on Saturday morning. There will be a lot of photo opportunities with Santa, Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Tinkerbell, Elmo, Abby, Buzz, Woody, Spiderman.

There will also be face painting at the breakfast, and Phillip Walker Photography will be on hand to take that special picture of children with Santa.

There will be two sessions: 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. These tickets are $12 a ticket and can only be purchased at Only Options, Rockin’ Robin, Steel’s Jewelry, and Toads and Teacups. They also get the ticket holder into the general show when it opens at 10 a.m.   

Proceeds from the Merry Marketplace will go to local charities. These include America’s Second Harvest, Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta, Break Bread, Children’s Advocacy Center, Community Partners in Education, DFACS Foster Parents Banquet, elementary school clothes closets, Habitat for Humanity, Jacobs’ Ladder, Kids’ Cafe, Koats for Kids, LAMP Food Pantry, Learning Enhancement Grants for teachers, LVAC Art Shows, LVAC Presenter’s Series, Partnership for Health, Pregnancy Support Clinic, Salvation Army, School Hearing and Vision Screening, South Georgia Regional Library, Valdosta State University Speech and Hearing Scholarship, United Methodist Children’s Home, The Greater Valdosta United Way, VSU Symphony for Youth, and Young Life.