Shopping for a Cause: The Junior League of Tampa’s annual Holiday Gift Market kicks of the holiday season
The universe collided when Shelby Tuttle and I paired up in January 2016 to plan this year’s Holiday Gift Market. As two over-achieving professionals/moms, we had big visions from day one. We both wanted to push the envelope and make this year’s market the largest market ever. Our biggest initiative was doubling the market’s size. This year we have spilled our holiday cheer into both the Expo Hall and the Entertainment Hall, increasing the number of merchants to over 180 and adding amazing special events. It’s surreal to know all of our hard work over the past year will finally be revealed in the biggest Holiday Gift Market ever created.
PRO TIP: Give yourself extra time to shop since The Junior League has added 55,000+ square feet of shopping space to make room for the additional merchants. 80+ are NEW to market this year!
New events to hit the market this year are Santa Snaps, Santa’s Workshop and Hoppy Holidays. This year, Santa will camp out at the North Pole in an amazing setting for special keepsake pictures. Snaps is available on both Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
We also wanted a hands-on creative experience for older children, so teams from Bricks 4 Kidz and Kraftologee will offer activities from Lego Christmas ornaments to spin art at Santa’s Workshop, which take place Friday and Saturday from 3-5 p.m.
Lastly, we wanted shoppers to have the opportunity to wind down their experience on Friday night, so we created Hoppy Holidays, where attendees can taste craft beer in commemorative glasses and nibble on scrumptious appetizers while listening to live entertainment. The “Hoppiness” starts at 6 p.m. on Friday evening and will end at 8 p.m.
It may be a good time, but the Holiday Gift Market also does good because 100 percent of its net proceeds go back to funding The Junior League of Tampa’s projects and programs. These efforts focus on improving the lives of children and families touched by the child welfare system and providing education programs that support emerging literacy, mentoring and health/nutrition.
Our event has grown so large that attendees now come from all over the state of Florida. Last year’s record-breaking attendance was over 21,000, and this year, we intend to break that record.
The Holiday Gift Market has been a Tampa Tradition since 2004, and we are excited to reveal the 14th annual Market to our entire community Nov. 9 through 12 at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo and Entertainment Hall. Tickets are still available at www.jltampa.org/hgm.
Thursday, November 9th, 7 pm – 10 pm (HGM Preview Party – Event ticket required)
Friday, November 10th, 9 am – 8 pm
Saturday, November 11th, 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday, November 12th, 9 am – 3 pm
Florida State Fairgrounds – Expo Hall & Entertainment Hall
4800 US Highway 301 N
Tampa, FL 33610
Tickets are $8 at the door or online at www.hgm2017.eventbrite.com
Thursday Preview Party Ticket: $35
Santa Snaps: $15 (pro photo included)
Santa’s Workshop: $20
Cookies with the Clauses: $10 (pro photo not included. Bring your own camera.)
Hoppy Holidays craft beer tasting: $20
All tickets may be purchased at www.hgm2017.eventbrite.com
Parking: $6 cash only paid to the Florida State Fairgrounds
Filled with holiday spirit, Holiday Gift Market attendees strategically map out their shopping path around favorite merchants and can’t-miss special events. From Gasparilla Music Festival acts to visits from princesses, the atmosphere is filled with magic and Christmas spirit. It’s an amazing experience that involves so much more than what the community sees.