PALMYRA, Mo. -- The 44th annual BLP Holiday Gift Show -- one of the area's largest gift shows and one of Palmyra's biggest events -- will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Palmyra High School.
The event will feature more than 80 artists, crafters and professional vendors selling various items while giving area residents a chance to start their Christmas shopping early.
"It's a fun day and a great way to kick off the holiday season," said Kathy Nicholson, president of the BLP Women's Club of Palmyra, which sponsors the show as its only fund raiser.
All proceeds from vendor fees, admission prices and lunch sales will be used to make grants "to support great causes and great things happening in Palmyra," Nicholson said. "All of it goes right back into the community."
For example, the club this year plans to make donations to Maple Lawn Nursing Home; the nutrition center; the public library to buy children's books and support the summer reading program; field trips for elementary and middle school students; two high school scholarships; the Parks and Recreation Department to buy playground equipment; a local food pantry; the Adopt-A-Family campaign; the Marion County Junior Fair; the Gardner House museum; school supplies for needy children; and the after-prom and after-graduation parties at the high school.
Nicholson said the gift show has become an annual tradition -- one that has grown significantly over the years.
"When it first started, it was in one small area of Palmyra High School. Now we literally take up the whole high school," she said.
While some professional vendors are featured each year, the show's main attractions are the artists and crafters who bring a wide sampling of creative projects to their sales booths.
"We've got china painters, people who do floral arrangements, and people who sew and do crocheting and knitting," Nicholson said. "They have wonderful merchandise, and the atmosphere is very friendly, very inviting."
Admission is $2. Children under 5 are admitted free. Strollers are not allowed for safety reasons.
Nicholson said the club's 27 members will serve lunch along with a wide variety of homemade desserts.
"It's a fun day," she said. "People will come and make an event of it. They'll meet their friends, meet their sisters, meet their moms."