Christmas Gifts Galore offers residents chance to shop local

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Carroll County Country Chicks Extension Homemakers Club (EHC) is offering a local option for Christmas shopping this weekend.

The third annual Christmas Gifts Galore will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Berryville. Club member Sheila Whiteley said there are 61 vendors signed up this year, and they will be set up in the east and west exhibit halls.

“We’re almost full at this point,” she said. “There will be 61 vendors. Some of them get one booth space, and some pay for two or three booths.”

Lisa Coatney, president of the EHC Country Chicks, said the event is designed to make Christmas shopping a fun and local experience for Carroll County residents. She said the club came up with the idea for the event last year as a way to raise money to help people in the community.

Christmas Gifts Galore, she said, offers local businesses and small vendors a chance to bring in crowds for Christmas before the big holiday shopping rush.

The event serves as both a fundraiser for the Country Chicks EHC, Whiteley said, and as a way for the club to give back to the local community. Instead of charging admission for the event, she said the admission price is a donation to either Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks, Bright Futures Berryville or the Good Shepherd Humane Society (GSHS). She said the club will be accepting donations of nonperishable food and toiletries for Loaves and Fishes, new shoes in children’s sizes 12 and up to adult sizes and new or gently used winter wear for Bright Futures and pet food, blankets and cleaning supplies for Good Shepherd.

Christmas Gifts Galore is also a way to help out local vendors, Whiteley said.

“We decided to do this because we didn’t have any events like this going on,” she said, “and because we felt it was important to have local vendors sell to local people. Our goal is to have the local vendor make a little money for Christmas and the customers get handmade items as their Christmas gifts. We do it the week before Black Friday to keep the money here as much as possible.”

There will also be a rodeo at the fairgrounds this Saturday, Whiteley said.

“We’re hoping that helps get people through the building,” she said. “We also have food and lunch.

Chance Robbins will be doing some barbecue, and the 4H team leaders are doing hot dogs and stuff like that. There will be all kinds of baked goods as well.”

Whiteley said the vendors will have jewelry, clothing and all kinds of items available. Christmas Gifts Galore will also feature a gift raffle throughout the event, she said. Each vendor supplies a gift for the drawing, she said, and they will be raffled off throughout the evening.

“The way it’s happened the last couple years is every 15 minutes we’re drawing a name for a door prize,” she said. “If you’re not there when your name is drawn, we try to get contact you on the phone. It keeps things exciting.”

If people visit the Christmas Gifts Galore page on Facebook, Whiteley said, there will also be some online giveaways.

“I’m rotating the vendors on the Facebook page so people can know what’s available,” she said. “We are going to have some giveaways on Facebook, too.”

To keep the event festive and fun, Whiteley said the Country Chicks EHC will be playing Christmas music in the building, and a committee will vote on the booth that has the most Christmas spirit.

“We encourage the booths to have a Christmas feel to them,” she said. “The winner will get their $25 booth fee back as a gift.”

Christmas Gifts Galore will be a day of fun, food, fellowship and shopping for the whole community, Whiteley said.

“I feel like it’s a nice warm place to go,” she said. “You see people you know, and everyone is visiting and talking. We try to make it a party.”

For more information, call 870-423-2958 or email SWhiteley@uaex.edu.

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