The Junior League of Odessa will bring the 36th Annual Merry Marketplace to the Ector County Coliseum next month. The weekend-long shopping event will give attendees the chance to stock up on holiday gifts and support the community.

Monica Langford, Merry Marketplace chairwoman, described the Merry Marketplace as a Christmas wonderland.

“This year’s theme is ‘A Cozy Christmas,’ so hopefully you’ll feel cozy, ready to shop and enjoy time with your family and friends,” Langford said.

She said 76 merchants from across the country will fill booths and help launch the holiday season. The Merry Marketplace is the Junior League’s largest fundraiser and money collected from booth rental space, sponsors and general admission tickets goes toward supporting local projects and community assistance funds.

Langford said they have partnered with the West Texas Food Bank for Kids in the Kitchen to help educate families on how to cook healthy meals. Funds from the event will also help support projects with the Ellen Noel Art Museum and Be the Change Permian Basin.

“It is an amazing experience,” Junior League President Andrea Goodson said. “You’ll never see the coliseum like it is during Merry Marketplace it is truly an amazing place to be and it’s for a good cause, it’s all for our community.”

Special event highlights will include an exclusive shopping experience and casino royale Nov. 1, a ladies champagne brunch with featured speaker Richard Hight Nov. 2 and breakfast with Santa Nov. 3.

Goodson said this year marks the 70th year that the Junior League of Odessa has been present in the community. Since the organization began in 1948, over $6.5 million dollars has been raised and returned to the community along with hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, their website stated.

“For us really it’s recognizing some of our past projects, some of the things we’ve done in our community that are still standing today,” Goodson said. “We’re revisiting those past projects to motivate our members about things we’ve done in the past and their ability to continue to make those differences in our community.”

For the first time, attendees will have the option to purchase their Merry Marketplace general admission tickets online.

“Come prepared to shop, there’s something for everyone,” Goodson said.

Source: The Associated Press

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