By Gwen Sisson
For the WPT
There will be a lot of fun and surprises at this year’s Eupora Christmas Market, which is Saturday.
The fun begins with the Football Boosters Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at the Eupora Community Center. The Eupora Christmas Market opens at 9 a.m. with more than 40 vendors featuring a variety of perfect gifts for this holiday season. A cooking demonstration from Viking will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the BLY Fine Arts Center. The Band Boosters’ “Draw Down” is set for 2 p.m. and the annual Eupora Christmas Parade will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday. The parade is sponsored by the Eupora Rotary Club.
“I love the Eupora Christmas Market because it brings people of our community together for fun and fellowship,” said Mayor Dan Burchfield. “I especially love the way the Christmas Market has been put together by volunteers and am so proud of the hard work they have shown for the last two years.”
Some of the local sponsors for this year’s event include SuperValu, Golden Living Rehab, Regions Bank, Murphy Medical Supply, Larry’s of Eupora, North Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi HomeCare.
Eupora Christmas Market Director Stephanie Stewart said the 10th annual event began as an effort to bring awareness to Downtown Eupora.
“The crafters and local vendors would sell their goods at Christmastime and be housed in the vacant buildings on the downtown street,” Stewart said. “This brought awareness to the vacant buildings as well as bringing hope and possibilities to new small upstart businesses. Over the last ten years we have seen the model work so well, that we have had to move the market to outdoors, because the vacant buildings are occupied!”
Stewart is particularly excited about the food demonstration by Viking Cooking School in the BLY Fine Arts Center, a dedicated “food court” with tables/seating to eat in the BLY Park and more vendors than ever before. Stewart said she is also excited about the Eupora Christmas T-shirts that will be on sale this week and the day of the market.
Christmas Market organizer Shelia Murphy said she loves the atmosphere of the market and “seeing all the people in our town and the smiles on their faces.”
“I hope that each merchant will be involved and open up the doors of their business so that every new shopper feels welcome,” Murphy said. “While shopping in a small town a few weeks ago at their fall market I noticed that the merchants had their doors open and a small sale of some kind. Also music draws people in to shop. I think this event is so important to Eupora to bring new people and shoppers into our town. It is wonderful to see our community come to together to promote this event.”
Christmas Market Booth Coordinator Deven Hitt said 44 booths were booked at Thanksgiving. Last year the market showcased 38 vendors with booths filled with goodies from local artisans, chefs, baseball teams, youth groups, church fundraisers and start-up businesses.
“I love to see the joy in people’s faces as they come and enjoy the day with their family and friends,” Hitt said. “ (I love) how the market tends to bring the community together to kick off the season of Jesus’ birth and celebrate the true spirit of sharing with others.”
Hitt said the proceeds from the event will help give comfort and warmth to children in need this Christmas. Last year’s proceeds helped to purchase winter coats for needy children in the Webster County School District. Stewart said in addition to winter coats, proceeds will help to purchase downtown directional signage that was designed and suggested for the downtown in the Eupora Charette.
For more information about this year’s Eupora Christmas Market, find us on Facebook.
Decorating continues for the Eupora Christmas Market with the help and initiative of Ann Sneed and Ann Hubbard. They were decorating downtown on Monday.