QUINCY -- Joyce Little drove nearly four hours from Danville, Ill., to be a vendor in this year's edition of the Quincy Christmas Pickers Market, which has been themed by organizers as "Holidazzle Winter Market."
Little, who sells gourmet food mixes as well as home decor, is one of more than a dozen vendors who have moved into the Quincy Mall, establishing temporary stores in vacant storefronts.
"I think that it is a fantastic thing. I mean you are taking empty storefronts and making them come alive again," Little said. "Plus, this is probably really good for the stores in the mall, as it will help bring more people into their stores."
In addition to Little's booth are vendors selling handmade crafts, primitives, jewelry, original art, architectural salvage, holiday decor, painted furniture, boutique clothing, personalized ornaments and several other items. The shopping event, which continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, also will feature live music, food and hundreds of dollars of free door prize giveaways, event organizer Jackson Bishop said.
There is no admission cost.
The shopping event is being held in conjunction with the Quincy Festival of Trees. The decorated Christmas trees will be sold by silent auction, and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. Nov. 17.
"If Santa had a theme park, this would be it," Jackson said. More than 15 decorated trees will be featured. All proceeds from the festival will be directly donated to the Toys for Tots local drive.
Volunteers with Toys for Tots will be taking donations of new and unwrapped toys for the yearly campaign. The market also will have a drop-off location for those who wish to donate scarves, gloves and hats. These items will be distributed through GPS Ministries.
Among the local vendors participating in the Holidazzle Winter Market are Lori Damhorst and her niece, Jennifer Damhorst. The family works at Ohio Street Originals, which sells an assortment of primitives and home decor, owned by Mark Damhorst.
With Christmas fewer than 50 days away, Lori Damhorst said many in Quincy have already begun or will begin their Christmas and holiday shopping this weekend.
"We get that it might be too early for some, but when you think that a lot of people, especially women, like to have time to look for that perfect Christmas gift, then it is not really all that long until Christmas," Damhorst said.
Little agreed, saying she has seen an increase in the foot traffic in downtown Danville store and expects to see large crowds this weekend.
"I know it might seem too early for some to begin Christmas shopping, but I really think the norm has become for people to start shopping sometime after November 1 or after Halloween," Little said. "Saturdays are always the bigger of the days at events like this. So I am expecting Saturday to be a big day with lots of people shopping."