Valdosta Daily Times


November 16, 2010

Merry Marketplace

Eagerly anticipated holiday show continues for 37th year

VALDOSTA — VALDOSTA — About 120 vendors from 28 cities across Georgia as well as from Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and New York will be showcased at Valdosta Junior Service League’s Merry Marketplace.

The popular holiday event will be held Nov. 20-21 at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center.

“Merry Marketplace is your one-stop destination for holiday shopping and the kickoff to the holiday season in South Georgia,” said Alison Eubanks, show chairman with Jenny Cochran. “There will be something at Merry Marketplace for everyone on your list, so let us take the stress off of you by having all the gifts you need under one roof. You will see unique gifts that can only be found at Merry Marketplace.”

New handmade jewelry, children’s clothing, sports gifts and healthy living vendors will be featured along with returning favorites, including Mrs. Leslie’s Cakes, Cindi’s Family Ornaments, and local retailers such as Ally B, Elli’s, 109 Central, City Market and Only Options. Outside vendors will offer tasty fair-style foods.

“I’m excited about all the great vendors we have so far for Merry Marketplace,” said Registration Chairman Heather Butler. “We will have about a half-and-half ratio of new vendors to our old classics.

“Paulette’s Best Foods brings her secret spices and salad dressing mixes to add a little pep to your traditional recipes. Tater’s Tots and Princess to Princess are two vendors with some cool and precious hair bows and headbands for your sweet little ones. We have a vinyl lettering vendor named Polka Dots and Priss Pots that will have those cute cake carriers, mailboxes and tote bags. HomeFields Inc. will be selling some amazing replicas of your favorite sports stadiums, perfect for that hard-to-buy-for man in your life ... The sweets and treats food vendors have multiplied from last year, with everything from fudge and nuts to caramel apples, cakes, pepper jelly, jams and more.”

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.

“Something new this year is that we are welcoming military families to the show for free on Sunday with a military ID,” said VJSL publicity chairman Leslie Kennerly.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or from 1st America Drugs, Children’s Corner, Country Cobbler, Hogan’s Pharmacy, Perfect Settings, South Georgia Pediatric Dentistry, Steel’s Jewelry, Sew Blessed, Tin Bucket, and Girardin’s.

Kennerly said limited tickets will be sold for the 4th Annual Preview Party Benefit set for Friday, Nov. 19. 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.

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

The 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.

“Those attending the preview party will also be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to participate in fabulous jewelry giveaways sponsored by Steel’s Jewelry and Girardin Jewelers,” Hobby said. “Steel’s will be giving away a wrapped gift to each ticket holder (only 150 tickets will be sold), and every gift contains a prize. The grand prize will be an amazing $3,000 shopping spree at Steel’s. Girardin Jewelers giveaway winner will take home a gorgeous Rolex watch.”

This year, the theme for the Preview Party is Autism Awareness, according to VJSL President Carly Thomas.

“A portion of the proceeds will be given to Autism Speaks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, research, advocacy and family services for all who struggle with autism,” she said.

“The prevalence of autism is clearly on the rise and because it is difficult to diagnose early on in life, families go without access to resources that can help.”

Tickets for the Preview Party are available at all Merry Marketplace ticket locations. Cost is $35 per person or $60 per couple.

In addition to the Preview Party, the service league is hosting a “Children’s Character Breakfast” on Saturday morning. There will be lots of photo opportunities with Mickey and Minnie, Spongebob, Dora, Elmo, Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and the Disney princesses … Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Snow White and Cinderella, according to Children’s Character Breakfast Elizabeth Oliver.

Children’s Character Breakfast will also feature a Bounce House, train, and many other fun activities. Kevin Walker with the Photographic Gallery 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 the Children’s Corner, Steel’s Jewelry and Gerlock Dance Studio. 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, Kennerly noted. Some of those the league supports are America’s Second Harvest, Children’s Advocacy Center, Community Partners in Education, DFACS Family Holiday Adoption and Foster Parents Banquet, elementary school Clothes Closets, Jacobs’ Ladder, Koats for Kids, LAMP, Learning Enhancement Grants for teachers, Partnership for Health, School Hearing and Vision Screening, South Georgia Regional Library, United Methodist Children’s Home, and United Way Day of Caring.


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