Holiday Market makes shopping fun in order to assist many children in need
For the shopper, the Junior League’s annual Holiday Market is entertainment and fun mixed with gift-buying, socializing and the chance to win outstanding prizes.
To the Junior League, every dollar earned at the three-day shopping extravaganza can be used to create a more secure future for children and teenagers who are served by the Children’s Emergency Shelter – especially teens who will soon leave foster care and start their adult lives.
“We want everyone to understand – we’re not just having a party,” said Kym Phelps, chairwoman of the 2014 Holiday Market. The Junior League’s long-time fundraising and volunteer work helped to establish and maintain the Children’s Emergency Shelter of Fort Smith as a safe, long-term residence for children in the foster care system and for several years has taken on responsibility to assist teens reaching 18 who will soon “age out” of state care.
The league, which provides volunteers to mentor and counsel these teens as they become responsible for themselves, is also working toward providing future residential options for them, she said.
Holiday Market is not “just”a party but in order to successfully raise funds, the league certainly works hard to make it very entertaining for shoppers. The core of the event is a three-day shopping bazaar tended by local and national vendors who offer unusually tempting merchandise such as women’s fashions, jewelry, children’s clothes, holiday decor, tasty gourmet foods and more.
Shoppers entering the doors at the Fort Smith Convention Center will feel an entire shopping center has magically appeared.
VIP Preview Party
On Nov. 20, $12 tickets allow VIP shoppers a preview of all the goods. They will be provided with specialty drinks, early shopping and a raffle ticket for a $1,000 shopping spree at Newton’s Jewelers, a donor of several generous prizes. The VIP preview party is open from 3-9 p.m.
Friday Shopping and Masquerade Gala
Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. is open to all shoppers for a $5 admission fee. That night at 6 p.m. is the league’s first Masquerade Gala, themed “Unmasking Aging Out of Foster Care.”?The guest speaker is Bailey Moore, first runner-up to the 2014 Miss America title, who has made foster care her platform. The gala includes a delicious meal, drinks and dessert, live and silent auctions, and a raffle for a De Beers Forevermark diamond necklace donated by Newton’s Jewelers. Music for after-dinner dancing is provided by Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes. Tickets are $55 per person or $400 tables for eight.
Saturday shopping and Santa Claus
Nov. 22 offers general shopping from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., $5 admission, and “The Night Before Christmas with Santa.”?At this 9:30-11:30 a.m. children’s event, kids may have a portrait made with Santa and meet live Disney characters for more photo opportunities and hugs. Elsa from “Frozen,” classic Disney princesses and even boy characters such as “Aladdin” will interact with the kids. Face-painting artists and balloon artists also will entertain. Admission is $15 per child.
Girls Night Out
From 6-10 p.m. Nov. 22, Girls Night Out, $30 per person, includes the last shopping opportunity in a party atmosphere where hors d’oeurves and desserts are offered with specialty drinks. A fashion show will be held with Laine Berry as the emcee. Berry, owner of Royal We pageant boutique in Conway, is a “triple crown” pageant winner of state, national and international titles who is now a professional pageant stylist and consultant to contestants. Attendees also have a chance at winning a $2,500 Newton’s Jewelers shopping spree. Tables for eight are available at the fashion show for $200, including a bottle of champagne and reserved seating.
All events of the Junior League’s Holiday Market will be held at the Fort Smith Convention Center, with parking at Rogers Avenue and South 9th Street. Information about all the service projects of the Junior League can be found at jlfs.org.