JEFFERSON — Sarah Trippe and Karyn Wilburn have been baking delicious cakes, painting delicate ornaments and sewing decorative pillows and purses around the clock.
No, they aren’t members of Santa’s workshop. Instead, they are two of more than 60 vendors who will be showcasing their wares at this weekend’s Holiday Market.
"We had such a good time last year. We knew so many people there and we had a lot of fun," Wilburn said. "It’s really just a great kickoff for the holidays."
Both Trippe and Wilburn have been lifelong crafters and decided to take their moonlighting skills to the next level when they started their "Moonlight Designs" business just in time for last year’s market event.
In addition to the ornaments, tote bags and jewelry, the two crafters also will showcase their specialty gingerbread houses that come complete with a working lighting system.
"We just have so many ideas. It’s hard to stop creating things," Trippe says.
What started out as a small gathering to allow local crafters to showcase their wares has blossomed into a must-attend kickoff to the holiday season.
"The Holiday Market started out very small. We only had 26 vendors, and only around 250 people came," said Beth Laughinghouse, manager of the Jefferson Better Hometown program, one of the event’s sponsors.
"Last year we had 62 vendors and more than 800 people came to the event. This year we have really maxed out our space. We have a waiting list for vendors wanting to set up a booth."
While this year’s event promises to be bigger than those in the past, this year the Holiday Market is also going to the dogs.
Each year the event’s organizers select one local charity that will receive all of the proceeds from raffle ticket sales and admission. This year’s recipient will be the Jackson County Humane Society. The two-day event at the Jefferson Civic Center on Kissam Street also will feature different food vendors, as well as offerings of beauty supplies, children’s books, Pampered Chef products and a variety of pet gifts.
The event will kick off with a dessert reception from 7 until tonight. Admission today is $5, but that ticket also can be used for free admission on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Holiday Market will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and admission is $1 for those individuals who did not attend Friday’s event.
"The Holiday Market has just exploded," Laughinghouse said. "We’ve really grown a lot quicker than we anticipated, but that’s a good problem to have."