Holiday Expo continues as an annual holiday event

“Santa has left the building. I repeat, Santa Claus has left the building.”

With that announcement the holiday expo, held on Saturday Dec. 10, ended, marking its second year as a Marshall Community and holiday event.

The event showcased various small businesses in the area, in addition to having entertainment like pictures with Santa, periodic raffles that offered items donated by the vendors and performances from both orchestra and choir students.

First introduced last year by class sponsors Tiffany Santana and Jennifer Hendershot as a fundraiser for the class of 2013, the Holiday Expo has turned into an annual event due to its success.

“What really set apart this year’s Expo is the variety of vendors we have,” Santana said. “We have products that rival almost anything you can buy at the mall.”

Samuel Stotts, a shopper at the Expo, had similar opinions about the variety of products offered.

“Even the mall doesn’t have this,” he said, referring to vendor Susan Guzman’s handmade animal hats.

Guzman, whose mother hand-makes animal hats, said it was her first time at the Expo.

“I heard about it from this internet website that listed events like these in the area,” she said. “This seemed the most promising.”

Having a year of experience at Marshall and more at her former school, Santana said that the increased advertisement had a very far-reaching effect in attracting sellers like Guzman.

However, there were other more familiar faces in the list of vendors as well like math teacher Cheryl Fischer, vendor of her business, Arbonne.

Additionally, Gena Womack, Santana’s friend from high school, heard about the Expo through Facebook and was “more than excited to participate.”

Womack is the owner of Visalus 90 Day Health Challenge and is from Stafford, Va. but drove all the way over to Marshall for the event.

The distance to Marshall seemed worth it, she said, since it is a “school event and that always attracts a lot of people.”

There were high expectations for the number of attendees, and the consistency of the number of people really satisfied the vendors.

“There was never a time when the numbers dropped significantly,” vendor Lynette Palmer-Ford said.
Palmer-Ford sells Avalon products and had applied to come to the Expo last year but was unable to join because of the already full list.

Many buyers were satisfied by the diversity of products offered, from jewelry, to clothes to cupcake look-alike soaps.
Shoppers also enjoyed beating the crowds. “There is no stress, no fighting over items which is really neat,” buyer Jimmie Massenbuey said. “Plus, the music has been amazing.”

With the reverberation of the choir’s last song and 15 minutes left until the end of the event and the last raffle called out, a beaming Santana turned and said, “Let’s plan for the next one!”