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November 7, 2018

5 Things We Love About The Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market!

By Laura Byrne

One of the Tampa Bay area’s most family-friendly holiday markets is back this weekend! The Junior League of Tampa’s 15th annual Holiday Gift Market opens its doors this Friday morning at the Florida State Fairgrounds and will welcome shoppers into a whole new wintry world Après ski style!

If you’ve been to the market before, the one thing you’ll notice immediately when you walk through the doors of the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall is the blue carpet! There will be a new feel to go along with this year’s theme which will transport you to the French Alps (aka Tampa Wonderland) as you shop the nearly 200 merchants and boutiques.

Quick facts | What you need to know before you go:

When: General shopping on Friday, November 9-Sunday, November 11 (hours below)

Where: Florida State Fairgrounds Expo and Entertainment Halls

Tickets are $10. You can purchase online here or at the door. Children ages 5 and younger are free to attend. 100% of the proceeds from your $10 ticket will go toward The Junior League of Tampa’s projects and programs that support children and families in our community.

Parking is $8. This is a fee charged by the Florida State Fairgrounds and they accept cash only. Consider car pooling with friends to save money!

Hours:

Friday, November 9th
General Shopping 9 am – 6 pm
Special Events start at 9:30 am

Saturday, November 10th
General Shopping 10 am – 7 pm
Special Events start at 9 am

Sunday, November 11th
General Shopping 9 am – 3 pm
Special Events start at 9:30 am

Five things we love about this year’s Holiday Gift Market:

ONE: #ShopShareCare

Okay, so this is a hashtag and not an actual thing at the market to love, but we’re listing it first because this event is a fundraising event. In fact, it’s one of The Junior League of Tampa’s largest fundraising events of the year! 100% of ticket proceeds will benefit the League’s projects and programs like Food 4 Kids which supplies children with a bag full of healthy food to take home for the weekend, the new Diaper Bank which helps supply diapers to local agencies to give to babies who need them most, and Love Bundles which provides a backpack full of necessities for a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. Learn more about the projects and programs here.

TWO: The merchants

Holiday Gift Market
Old City Calligraphy

This year’s market features nearly 200 merchants and boutiques which means you’ll find something for everyone on your holiday wish list…and maybe a few things for yourself too!

Are you looking for boutique clothing, jewelry and accessories, unique toys, home decor, and/or specialty food items? You’ll find them all and more! Some of our favorites are returning this year like:

The Haute Shop Boutique (we LOVE their home team shirts with a fun twist and boutique clothing!),

Seventh Avenue Apothecary and Tipsy Candle Company both have the best smelling candles! Since they are locally made, they make a great gift for friends, family and clients!

Toffee to Go has the sweetest locally made treats! This is a must stop by booth! Pick up some small boxes of their delicious toffee for yourself and for friends! The toffee also made Oprah’s Favorite Things list, so you know it’s good!

The Alabama Sweet Tea Company is returning this year and it was a crowd favorite in 2017! Fill up a glass of their famous sweet tea and indulge in some of their gift worthy t-shirts as well!

Old City Calligraphy has the best home decor and gift items! We loved the Florida State and University of Florida coffee mugs we picked up last year and will definitely be stocking up on some more gift items this year. OId City Calligraphy was The Junior League’s 2016 Young Entrepreneurship Program winner!

Ethos Coffee Roasters. Since we just mentioned a Young Entrepreneurship Program winner, we couldn’t forget to give a shout out to Ethos Coffee, the 2017 winner! The beans are sourced directly from the farmers and are grown organically and purchased at a fair cost. Ethos Coffee seriously offers some of the best tasting coffee around!

Tate and Tilly and Fig and Julep are two local stores you’ll find at the market! We love the gift items for kids at Tate and Tilly and the specialty foods from Fig and Julep are always a good idea!

There are many NEW merchants this year, so be sure to come by and shop this weekend!

THREE: A shout out to women business leaders like Pawz Publishing

Holiday Gift Market Pawz Publishing
Pawz Publishing

Rebekah Phillips of Pawz Publishing is this year’s Young Entrepreneurship winner! We are super excited about this merchant because she has created the most perfect gift for little ones…books that come with a plush character! Children’s literacy is a big deal for us and a part of the Junior League’s mission. One of our favorites from Pawz Publishing is the mouse which comes in its own little box/book! You can read more about Pawz Publishing here! Rebekah Phillips was featured in our November issue!

FOUR: The special events

Parties with Character
Parties with Character princesses

Holiday Gift Market is so much more than a market, it’s a holiday wonderland of fun! For the little kiddos, we’re most exited about the Princess Snaps on Friday morning where your kids can meet their favorite princesses from Parties with Character and pose for a picture, so keep those cameras/phones charged! Tickets for this event are $25. You can book a 10 minute window between 9:30 and 11:00am.

It is also tradition for our kiddos to meet Santa at the Holiday Gift Market! Stop by The Claus’ Cabin on Saturday or Sunday from 12pm-3pm where your child can take a picture with Santa, decorate a cookie, have fun with crafts and even write a letter to Santa to make sure he remembers what’s on their wish list! Tickets for this event are $40 (adults are free with their paid admission to market). One picture with Santa, crafts and cookie are included in ticket price.

For the ladies…and gents…there’s a Mimosa Sip n Shop on Saturday from 9am-10am! You’ll get an entire hour all to yourselves before the crowds arrive when market opens at 10am! Tickets are $25 and include your entry to market along with complimentary mimosas and coffee.

For an elevated shopping experience, consider booking a ticket with the Tea Lounge on Saturday or Sunday from 12pm-2pm. Enjoy tea, finger sandwiches and pastries in your finest tea attire! tickets are $25 and include your admission to the market.

FIVE: The frills

Holiday Gift MarketGlazer Children’s Museum will be bringing the Imagination Playground all weekend long where the kids can stop for a play break! You’ll find it near the Fan Cave where you can catch up on your favorite games and the Mother’s Nook, a quiet getaway to change your baby’s diaper or feed them.

If you plan to get a lot of shopping done, there’s a Bag Check to keep all of your purchases safe and secure–this is always a better idea than leaving your stuff in the car! We also love that the presenting sponsor Publix gives out samples of delicious cakes and donuts! Who knows what they’ll have in store for us this year, but we can’t wait!