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Find holiday deals at annual Marketplace sale
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What: 18th annual shopping benefit for the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Auxiliary
When: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St., Gainesville
How much: Tickets can be bought at the door, $40 preview party; $5 for shopping Friday and Saturday; children 12 and younger free
More info: 770-219-1830 or

Each year The Medical Center Auxiliary welcomes locals to its annual holiday shopping event called Marketplace.

And this year the event, co-sponsored by Willis Investment Counsel, will feature more than 70 merchants and will benefit New Horizon North.

“The benefactor this year and next year is New Horizons North, which is a long-term care facility on Limestone Parkway and it is in desperate need of a face-lift,” said Meg Nivens, a tri-chairwoman of the event. “So the proceeds will go to help beautify that. That is something that I am personally very excited about and feel good about because that is a hard place (for anyone) to have their loved ones (in) any nursing home.

“And for the families and loved ones to come in and see an updated and beautiful facility certainly helps.”

Lynne Allen, director of volunteer services for the hospital, said the preview party tonight will kick off with live and silent auction items.

“It is a great opportunity for people to shop with the merchants before Marketplace opens to the public,” she said. “We have got some great weekend getaways to Barnsley Gardens, Old Edwards Inn, we have items from local artists, we also we have some very good parties. There is an evening houseboat cruise on Lake Lanier with live music and barbecue — that is actually on the Memorial Park houseboat — and music by Allen Nivens.”

There are also some quail hunts for the men in the audience to bid on courtesy of Philip Wilheit and Jim Walters.

Nivens added that other items — like diamond solitaire earrings from Gainesville Jewelry and a rifle — also will be on the auction block.

A dinner buffet with heavy hors ’d oeuvres will be served along with a cash bar. Any preview party guest will get return admission to Marketplace during the weekend.

“A committee of 30 volunteers has worked throughout the year, and then there are 175 volunteers plus that committee that will be involved during the weekend,” Allen said. “Last year we raised $130,000 ... we certainly hope to reach or exceed that number.”