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Gifts, goodies available Friday, Saturday at Marketplace
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Michelle Ellingson looks at Velvet’s Vintage necklaces Thursday. Ellingson said it was her third year coming to the event and that’s it’s always a great place to get some shopping done. - photo by JOSHUA L. JONES

24th annual Marketplace

When: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6 and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 7
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville
Cost: $5 general admission and children 12 and younger free
More info: 770-219-1830 or nghs.com/marketplace

Those interested in getting a jump-start on holiday shopping — including Christmas pajama sets for the kids, plus clothes, jewelry, nutcrackers, ornaments and other gifts for the whole family — can do so this weekend at Marketplace.

The 24th annual Marketplace is a holiday shopping event presented by The Medical Center Auxiliary and Willis Investment Counsel. This year’s event began with a preview party Thursday night and will continue through Saturday at the Gainesville Civic Center.

“We’re so excited to have over 85 merchants from seven states,” said Lynne Allen, director of volunteer services for the Northeast Georgia Health System. “We had a great response this week and today with preview party attendance. We’re looking forward to a great crowd.”

The event has grown considerably over the last 24 years, and this year it has extended onto the civic center’s Green Street lawn. A covered tent housed the auctions Thursday evening, and it will feature more vendors Friday.

“(Friday) morning we will also welcome 14 additional artists,” Allen said. “This is new this year, and it’s called Artist’s Row.”

Local vendors include Rahab’s Rope, District 101, Dress Up, Mena Mae, Paige Boutique, Lemonade Makers and many more.

Kelsey Bishop, owner of Lemonade Makers in Gainesville, said it’s her first time as a vendor at Marketplace.

“Everything in our store is all local goods,” she said. “So everything here is from all makers in Georgia. We’ve been open since Aug. 22, so we’re really hoping to continue to grow.”

Nearby vendors also include Nest Feathers from Oakwood and Earth Soaps from Mount Airy.

The Chattahoochee Woodturners club has a booth at Marketplace, presented together with Eagle Ranch. Handmade, turned wood pieces, most of which were made in Hall County, are for sale, and customers can pick up information about the club and the children’s ranch.

“Woodturning can cover everything,” said club President Bob Black. “It can include practical items such as some bottle stoppers, to pepper grinders, to some really nice bowls.”

Black, like many of the vendors Thursday, said he was excited to share stories and products with the community.

Despite light rain Thursday night, the event was a packed house. Bishop said she was pleased to see the crowds coming through.

“People have been flowing in and out, getting something to eat,” she said. “It’s kind of relaxed, but it’s really nice. Everyone’s dressed up and it just adds a little something.”

Tickets Friday and Saturday are $5. All proceeds from benefit Safe Kids Gainesville-Hall County, which works to prevent accidental childhood injury – the leading killer of children ages 14 and younger in the U.S.

Allen said the event is a wonderful way to benefit this organization while preparing for the holidays.

“We really want people to come, shop and enjoy,” she said.

Regional events