OK, SO THIS POST MIGHT TAKE A WHILE! Merry Marketplace is an annual Christmas Show that the Valdosta Junior Service League has been putting on for 36 years. (It used to be called the Arts and Crafts show) It is by far our biggest money maker. We use the money to help out several local charities. One year ago, I was asked to be the Registration Co-Chair. The job would be a full placement(We have to do 60 hours of service each year.) and is a 3 year committment. I thought about it and was excited to take on the task. I can still say that I am happy I did although I now understand the full grueling commitment the position holds. I, along with my wonderful chair, Jenny, spent the past year getting vendors for the show. We ended up with about half and half of retailers to artist/craft vendors. We spent a lot of time going to different shows and stores and talking up our show. We begged, pleaded, bargained, and purchased items all in the name of scoring some great vendors. In the end, we were all pleased with how the show turned out. (Side note: I now know what it would be like to plan a wedding or a big matter how hard you work or what preparations you make, something will always happen at the last minute, good or bad, that will alter your plans.) We raised a lot of money for charity and in the end...that is all that matters! At the League meeting on the Tuesday before MM, we did a little rap to help get the members in the spirit. The pink bandanas were in honor of one of our causes this year, the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer fund. One of our members, Dr. Nikki Yarbrough, was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. She has been a great pillar of strength and positivity through it all.

Jenny and I on Registration day! It was a very nerve wracking, LONG day. We had to get all the vendors checked in, make sure they were paid up, and accommodate them in any other way we could. This picture was very early in the am! We basically lived at the Conference Center from Wed-Sun. I am so thankful for all the ways Jenny helped me and prepared me to take her job next year. I am thankful that we were able to become better friends through all this as well. I am thankful that her husband put up with me being at their house at least once a week discussing MM. Lastly, I'm thankful for her two sweet daughters who captured a little piece of my heart.

During the Preview Party on Friday night of MM, we had a silent auction for 8 Christmas trees. My class volunteered to decorate one and we came up with "White Christmas." This was our version of it. I shopped and hunted deals in order to save some cash. I'm not sure how many people have in one swoop bought absolutely everything that they need to decorate a beautiful Christmas tree, but it's expensive!!! In the end, the Steel's family from Steel's Jewelry graciously bought our tree for $500 and gave it to a charity organization in town.

Our beautiful presents that decorated the bottom of the tree.

There was a wonderful buffet set up in front of the trees for the Preview Party.

Amanda and Dan Tillman

Me and Amanda. Her brother in the background...loving that he got his mug in our pic!

Curry, me, Karla, and Holle hanging out at the Preview Party

Melanie being silly

I love my friends!!
On Saturday morning of MM, we have a character breakfast. Yummy food and about 30 characters to keep the children entertained. Ofcourse, Santa is on hand to take pics as well.
being funny
At the end of a very long day, Jenny tried on an adult bib and that's all I'm gonna say about that!

ok, so this starts the pictures of vendors' booths and items. I'm not going to stop and put the descriptions under each one, but at least this way you get the general idea of some of the items we had for sale. ofcourse I just realized that I ended up not taking a lot of pictures as I had intended to do. We had over 120 booths. Maybe next year I will go around and take pictures on the first day so I won't be so exhausted by the end and forget to do it!

Another side note: it seems so sad that this little blog post is all I have to show for the months of work that was put into the show! Oh well, it will be good to see us able to help so many with the money we raised as well as keeping a tradition in Valdosta going!

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