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uac102611001.jpg The Holly Day Fair is right up there with Black Friday when it comes to shopping traditions in Eastern North Carolina. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the event gets bigger and bet-ter each year. In fact, it is the largest show of this type in this region of our state. In its 45th year, the Holly Day Fair is something that organizers and shoppers both look forward each fall. So November 3-6, loosen up those purse strings, head to the Crown Expo Center and shop till every last name has been crossed off that list.

About 22,000 shoppers attend each year, and the more than 200 vendors that come are eager to impress the crowds.

We’ve got a great selection of vendors this year,” said Jenny Beaver, Holly Day Fair chair. “We’ve brought back the favorites and added some new vendors too.”

Shoppers can look for an extensive selection of unique handcrafted and manufactured products to select from including the best in holiday decorations, handmade crafts, stylish jewelry and clothes, children’s toys, specialty food items and much more. There will be Christmas trees — fully decorated and ready to take home and set beside the mantle — for sale. Not too many though, said Beaver, as each one is deco-rated by a professional designer.

This year’s theme is “An All American Christmas.” With Fort Bragg right next door and the “All America City” title which was awarded to the city of Fayetteville earlier this year, the theme was a natural and easy fit. Besides, Bea-ver is hoping to draw in even more visi-tors than last year, including Fort Bragg residents and shoppers from surrounding areas like Pinehurst and Sanford.

“We are working really hard to get the most out of our advertising dollars this year and to extend our reach,” said Beaver. “We’ve made some really big leaps this year in getting the word out. This is the first year that the Holly Day Fair has its own website. We also have a Facebook page and will be doing a Facebook ad this year.”

It’s an ambitious goal, but the Holly Day Fair organizers are looking to top the almost $275,000 raised last year. “We are hoping for $300,000,” said Beaver. “I know that is a big number, but we can do it.”

The shopping is great and the festively decorated event puts shoppers in the holiday spirit, but what some people don’t realize is that all of the money raised by the Holly Day Fair goes right back into the community.

More than 400 members strong, the Junior League of Fayetteville is an all-volunteer organization. According to their website, these volunteers “partner with various agencies to effect change in area of child health and welfare. The Junior League of Fayetteville is a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), which has 290 member Junior Leagues and 160,000 members internationally.”

Last year alone, the Junior League of Fayetteville gave grants to 15 organizations ranging from Hope Mills Middle School for math reviews to Hungry Angela’s back pack buddies program, the Southeastern Regional Area Health Education Center’s child abuse and detection prevention program to the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra concert for special needs children and adults and to the Child Advocacy Center’s program help for abused children under age 18.

“A lot of people don’t realize just how much the Junior League of Fayetteville contri10-26-11-holly-day-fair-text.jpgbutes to the community,” said Beaver. “The organization has done a great job of branding their event — the Holly Day Fair — but they haven’t necessarily branded themselves as the sponsor. It’s important for the community to know that not only are they getting a wonderful shopping experience when they come to the Holly Day Fair, they are helping the children in our community too.”LaJuan Mills, Junior League of Fayetteville echoes that sentiment.

“Each year keeps getting bigger and better and we are proud to report that we raised over $270,000 for the community last year with this one fund-raiser,” said LaJuan Mills, Junior League of Fayetteville President, “We hope to surpass that amount this year, to sus-tain our focus of commit-ting programs, projects and advocacy to ensur-ing children ages 0 to 18 have the opportunity and services essential to their physical, intellec-tual, emotional and social well-being.”

Holly Day Fair kicks off Nov. 3 with the Super Shopper event from 9 a.m. to noon. These special event tickets can be purchased for $13. Tickets are limited. Strollers and any type of rolling carts are strictly prohibited during Super Shopper hours.

General admission tickets for the event are $9. All tickets include free parking. Chil-dren 5 and under are free. Regular hours of the event are as follows: Thursday, noon to 8 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets to the 2011 Holly Day Fair can be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com, at the official Holly Day Fair Web site at www.hollydayfair.com, or at the following local merchant locations: Bell’s Seed Store, The Pilgrim, Luv My K-9’s and So Chic Bebe.

Find out more at the Holly Day Fair website www.hollydayfair.com/press.php and Facebook page www.facebook.com/hollydayfair.

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