AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

Bloom Event Planning, under the direction of Jeanne Hurt and Connie Kubis, organized the first, and well attended, Merry and Bright Holiday Mart, held at Weymouth Country Club November 30.

Almost 60 vendors, 45 in the ballroom and another dozen in the clubhouse next door, offered shoppers a unique array of gift possibilities that included something for everyone, or, as one shopper said, "If it's not here, it doesn't exist."

For one hour before the general 11 a.m. opening time, shoppers wishing to get a head start could purchase a special $15 ticket to a VIP Sneak Peek. There they could enjoy the hot chocolate and coffee bar, indulge in a Snickerdoodle Bundtlet, be among the first to visit the vendors, and meet celebrity guest Kelly Dobeck, 19 News meteorologist.

In addition to being an exciting opportunity to find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on their lists, shoppers were supporting two valuable charities. The proceeds from the Sneak Peek will benefit The Children's Center of Medina County and Wigs for Kids.

The Children's Center had a gift wrapping station set up; donations were accepted and appreciated. Artist Caleb Paul created a beautiful, limited-edition hand-blown ornament that sold for $35; 100 percent of the proceeds from those sales went to Wigs for Kids.

Shoppers were able to purchase lunch prepared by Weymouth in the clubhouse, where Santa and Mrs. Claus (aka Bob and Bev Pohto)greeted them. The iconic guests, along with Jingle the Elf (Ty Egut) were available for photos.

The selection of gifts was very broad - clothing and endless accessories; ceramic, pottery, and wood creations; handcrafted jewelry and make-up; locally homegrown products and greenery arrangements; and so much more. Kimberly Mencke was selling handmade fashion items for Trades of Hope, a group that helps to lift women in 16 countries out of poverty.

Among the local vendors were: Medina Morning Kiwanians who were selling their luminaires; Berry's Blooms; Earth Essentials Home; Jim Aylsworth and his grandson Luke Webb/Oak Ridge Farm; Deirdre and Ken Gerowitz/Sprite Hollows; Kurtis Farley and Renee Hartline/The Alpaca Boutique; and Buckeye Blanket Buddies.

Hurt said, "The Merry & Bright Holiday Mart brings a full-range of merchandise for the shoppers looking for unique gift items, supports Small Business Saturday (which was being held on the Medina Square), and benefits some amazing charities." She said her goal for the day: "I want lots and lots of people to come, shop, and have a good time."

Sneak Peek and pre-sale admission tickets to the event were automatically entered for a chance to win the Merry & Bright Holiday Basket, drawn at the end of the day.

Another appreciated consideration offered to the shoppers during what proved to be a very popular six-hour afternoon event was television access to the "BIG GAME." All in all, the first Merry and Bright Holiday Mart was a win-win for everyone.