PALMYRA, Mo. -- Palmyra High School will be bustling with activity from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday as the BLP Holiday Gift Show helps usher in the Christmas shopping season.
The gift show, now in its 45th year, is one of Palmyra's biggest annual events. Sponsored by the BLP Women's Club of Palmyra, the show typically attracts between 1,800 and 2,000 patrons looking to get an early start on their Christmas shopping.
"There's a wide variety of shopping for people to do," said Kathy Nicholson, the club's president.
Nicholson said about 80 vendors will be stationed in the high school offering all sorts of art, handmade crafts and commercial items.
"We have china painters, woodworkers and people who repurpose old things. And we have people who make beautiful wreaths, candles, candy and a variety of things," she said.
Admission to the show is $2 for anyone age 5 and older.
The BLP Women's Club uses the show as its only fundraiser. The club will use all proceeds from admission charges, lunch sales and vendor fees to give grants to local charitable causes.
"That's the reason we do it," Nicholson said.
She said grants are given to such organizations as the Palmyra Nutrition Center, food pantry, the Marion County Library in Palmyra and Maple Lawn Nursing Home. Money also is used to buy school supplies for children in the elementary and middle schools, and to buy supplies for the Paws Packs program, which sends home extra food with students who might not be getting enough to eat.
Nicholson said the club's 23 members will serve lunch and a variety of homemade desserts.
In addition, a team of Palmyra High School students will help set up the gift show and work in the kitchen. The students also will help carry the vendors' merchandise from the parking lot to their booths.
"We're very fortunate to have these young men and women," Nicholson said. "We're very proud of them."
She noted that the Holiday Gift Show "is big and it's good," and it also gets crowded.
"We do ask families not to bring strollers because the crowd is so large that the strollers are just not safe," she said. "We don't want anybody to get run over."