Clairemont holds 25th annual Decatur Holiday Marketplace

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Sarah Grace Stafford paints destination signs in Clairemont's library to fulfill custom orders.

Aiden Gibbs

Running, screaming, crying. They don’t have that size, they don’t have that color, they don’t have that brand. Holiday shoppers are all too familiar with the trauma of gift shopping, both online and in-store. For Clairemont residents, there’s at least one thing to be thankful for this season: the Decatur Holiday Marketplace, which turns the stress and fear into a community event.

This year, the market will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Dec. 2 and 3. The event has grown to feature over 100 local and national vendors, in addition to a cafe and raffle.

Parents, teachers and local artists started the event after school needs were not being met, and since its start, it has become Clairemont Elementary’s largest fundraiser. Recently, the money has bought new learning devices for the students.

“The most important part is that [the market] helps the kids,” Effie White, Marketing Chair for the marketplace said.

Although fundraising is the market’s primary purpose, the event also helps bring artists and the community together around the holidays.

“This event allows artists to display their work at a high-shopping time of year: when people are looking for gifts,” White said.

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Molly and Virginia Weston browse sample destination signs while visiting the market.

These artists include juniors Clara McKay, Whitney Westbrook and Sarah Grace Stafford. Last year, they made custom destination signs and sold them at the market. They will participate again this year.

McKay cites the market’s memorable gifts as one reason people continue to shop.

“[The market] has been running for so long that everybody comes, and some vendors, like us, return. I have a friend that gets this special gingerbread soap for her dad year after year,” McKay said. “People come back for these certain vendors that they only see at the marketplace.”

Similarly, Stafford buys jewelry from the same vendor each year for her mom.

“That vendor’s only at Clairemont,” Stafford said. “I can’t find them anywhere else.”

White agrees that the products entice people to return. From woodworkings to soaps to hula -hoop skirts, the market has something for everyone.

“Personally, I like seeing the variety of things artists have,” White said. “They have really unique gifts you can’t get anywhere else. You couldn’t pick it up at a Walmart.”

On Friday, the event will be held between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., while it will run from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

You can find more information about the event, including the address, here.