By Ida Brown / firstname.lastname@example.org
Get a head start on your holiday shopping this weekend at the 28th Annual Homemakers Arts and Crafts Show and Sale.
Sponsored by the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers Council, this year's two-day fundraiser is anticipated to be one of the biggest in the event's history.
"We have more than 120 vendor booths this year – 92 inside and 35 outside," said Patty Swearingen, county director for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "All items for sale are homemade."
Quite an advance from the early days of the annual arts and crafts extravaganza. Started as a fundraiser for the homemaker clubs' projects, the event was held at the Mississippi/Alabama State Fair Grounds in its early years. It was eventually moved to its current location, the Frank Cochran Center in Highland Park.
In addition to a different venue, the annual event has experienced several other changes during its 28-year-history.
Previously, each homemakers club decorated a tree with ornaments made by the members. The trees were judged and the ornaments sold. The competition was discontinued to allow for more booth space, Swearingen explained.
Another change is that vendor participation is no longer limited to the homemakers clubs. Anyone can purchase a booth, however all items sold must be homemade. Jams, jellies, baked goods, clothing for children, pottery, stained glass, birdhouses, quilts, dips and other unique items.
Proceeds from the Homemakers Arts and Crafts Show and Sale will support local service agencies, including Care Lodge, LOVE's Kitchen, Hope Village for Children and Feed By Faith.
With all the shopping and browsing, it's easy to work up an appetite. A concession stand will be available with homemade vegetable soup, fish, chicken and hamburger baskets as well as other favorites.
More than 2,000 shoppers attended last year's two-day event. Organizers advise shoppers to come early.
"It's never too early to start your Christmas shopping, and the Homemakers Arts and Crafts Show and Sale is a great place to begin – plus, you're helping support local causes," Swearingen said.