Christmas Gifts Galore returns Saturday
By Kelby Newcomb
The Carroll County Country Chicks Extension Homemakers Club (EHC) is offering a local option for Christmas shopping this weekend.
The fourth annual Christmas Gifts Galore will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in the educational and business hall at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Berryville. Club secretary Johanna Edwards said there are only a few vendor spaces left.
“We have 80 vendor spaces, and we’re almost full,” she said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean there are 80 vendors because some get double. They’re all local vendors from around the county. Some of them are stores, and some are individuals trying to make a little extra Christmas money.”
Edwards continued, “It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of creative stuff out there you can buy.”
She said the event is a great way to get Christmas shopping done before the holidays. The Carroll County 4-H Teen Leadership Club will be selling hot dogs at the event, she said, and there will be a couple of food vendors as well.
“There’s going to be a photographer there this year if you want to get your pictures taken that day,” Edwards said. “Several charities will be there, like the Mercy ladies who will be selling nuts. There are a lot of unique and wonderful things. Some of them are handmade, and some of them are retail. There’s a lot to choose from.”
She said Christmas Gifts Galore is also a great way to find out what businesses are available in Carroll County.
“A lot of people work out of their homes, so you don’t necessarily know about them,” Edwards said, “because you don’t drive by and see their sign on the street.”
She said the cost to enter the event Saturday is donations of food for Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, donations of coats, gloves and warm clothes for Bright Futures Berryville or donations of pet supplies for Good Shepherd Humane Society.
“This is a fundraiser. We make our money off the booth rentals, but that’s the only money we get from it,” Edwards said.
She said the money the Country Chicks make from Christmas Gifts Galore will help refurbish the Community Room on the Berryville Public Square.
“It’s in really bad shape,” Edwards said, “and part of their problem is they can’t get any grants because they don’t have handicap access.”
She said club member Sherry Ream spoke with District 7 Justice of the Peace Noreen Watson and was able to secure funds to repair a large cracked window over the entryway and to lay concrete and build a ramp up the back of the building.
“So it will be like a deck and give some handicap access to the building,” Edwards said. “Warren Welding is going to help build that, and Thompson’s is going to donate the concrete. We’ve got somebody else donating the work, so all we have to pay for is the rebar.”
She said adding the ramp and deck will hopefully make the community room eligible for grants in the future.
“Friendly Glass has been coming and repairing the windows in the back, which have been busted by weed-whacking throwing rocks up,” Edwards said. “The deck will prevent that from happening again. They will be replacing that for free.”
Last year, Edwards said, the Country Chicks used some of the money raised at Christmas Gifts Galore to purchase a new water heater for the community room.
“Our plan is to refurbish the whole thing,” she said, “and get new flooring and a new ceiling. We want to rebuild the kitchen so that it’s got some nicer work space. We want to make it a place where people want to hold events. That will help the Carroll County Historical Society make some money off of that.”
Part of the club’s goal, she said, is to hold classes in the community room once it is cleaned up.
“We want to teach people how to cook and some of those old-fashioned things, like canning, that nobody does anymore,” Edwards said. “Once the community room is cleaned up, we can start holding classes up there.”
She continued, “We want to teach people on SNAP how to cook on their SNAP benefits, how to use that wisely to make it stretch and make healthy meals. A lot of them get benefits but have no clue what to do with any of it.”
The Country Chicks have a lot of big plans, she said, but they need a place to hold these classes.
“The community room is a good place, and it should be used,” she said. “It’s right there on the Square. It should be a nice place for people to gather.”
Edwards said people can follow the Christmas Gifts Galore page on Facebook to get a chance to win free giveaways throughout the week leading up to the event.
“When they come to Christmas Gifts Galore, they’ll get a raffle ticket,” she said, “and we give away a prize from the vendors. Everybody has to donate something at a value of $10 or more to give away throughout the day.”
If people are not there to receive their prize, Edwards said the Country Chicks will hold them at the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Office to be picked up later.
“Come and have fun!” said Edwards.
For more information, call the extension office at 870-423-2958.