Merry Marketplace makes its return

·5 min read

Oct. 17—It's an event that for years has marked the start of the holiday season in the Permian Basin.

Since 1983, the Junior League of Odessa's Merry Marketplace has helped begin the transition from Halloween to Christmas and this year will be no different when it returns from Nov. 4-7 at Ector County Coliseum.

This year's event should be even more special, according to the event co-chairs Monica Langford and Brea Frazier since it'll be the first time that Merry Marketplace will be held in-person since before the pandemic started.

"We're more excited than ever," Langford said.

The theme for this year's event will be "Merry and Bright".

"We're bringing it back with fun, festive colors," Langford said. "All the decorations that we decorate with are for sale. We get everyone into that spirit."

80 different vendors will have booths set up at the multiday event some of which are local but others that will come from outside the state.

"People come in and shop and we kick off the holiday season with some shopping with families and friends," Langford said.

The vendors will have something for everyone from jewelry to clothing and toys.

"Some people sell jewelry," Langford said. "We have fudge that comes. We have a lot of clothing and different boutiques and children boutiques. We have toys and a little bit of everything for everyone in your family."

Langford said some of the vendors come back every year.

"We've had vendors from Ohio, New York and California," Langford said. "These vendors shop exclusively. They go to market and prepare for our show, just as long as we're preparing for it, if not longer. They go and pick out special things that they may not have in their stores quite yet. They may exclusively release them at our show. It's a big deal for them. They're always excited to come. We love to take care of our vendors and make sure that it's the best experience possible for them."

After last year's COVID hiatus, Langford said it's great to have Merry Marketplace back this year.

"Everyone looks forward to this every year," Langford said. "It kind of took the holiday spirit from some of us last year but we're certainly excited to have it back this year. Also, it is wonderful to have because all the funds that the Junior League of Odessa raises from our market place, we put it back into our communities. We've given back over millions of dollars into our communities because of the funds we raised from our fundraiser."

This year's Merry Marketplace will begin with the Market Place Preview Party Nov. 4.

"It's a $75 shopping ticket," Langford said of the Preview Party. "That is going to get the guests through the door, open beer and wine, food, live music. They also get that first shopping experience before the general public comes in and it's not as crazy. It's something to check out all the vendors before we open to the public."

The marketplace will open to the general public Nov. 5.

The proceeds from the marketplace helps the Junior League of Odessa give back to the community.

"So we put (the proceeds) all back into the community through special projects and we've done, more recently, the Jurassic Spray Ground and a bunch of other things in the community," Langford said. "We write community assistance funds and also grants for our community partners."

Frazier echoed Langford's excitement for this year's marketplace.

"Honestly, we're super excited to have it back," Frazier said. "We've been ramping up this event all year and unfortunately, we had to cancel it last year but thankfully, we had everything sorted out so it's more of a continuation. We've changed a few things. Our preview party is just going to be premier shopping this year but we're really excited about it. We're going to have a quartet come out that we're excited about with hors d'oeuvres and it's going to be a nice night of shopping. We're really excited to bring it back for the community."

Nov. 5 will also feature the Ladies Champagne Brunch and Style Show, according to Langford.

"We're going to have our Ladies Champagne Brunch and Style Show Friday morning. That's going to be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. so the ladies can come and get a swag bag at the door, sip on champagne and shop ... That's a $75 ticket as well but there are also table sales on that. People come and shop and it's a great time. They just love to come and enjoy to shop. We fill up very quickly."

Nov. 6 will feature Breakfast with Santa which will take place from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

"That'll be a family fun event," Langford said. "The children can get photos with Santa and eat breakfast and decorate cookies. It's a fun way to get everyone involved."

Langford said they've raised around $350,000 from the Merry Marketplace in the past and even higher.

"In the past, we've gotten up to almost $500,000," Langford said. "It depends on the year and when we can get quite a few people through the door and the surrounding communities to come out. We've had great support. We've had, in the past few years, about 45,000 people come through the doors for the weekend."

Tickets can be purchased online at http://boxofficesolutions.net/index.html.

If you go

— What: Merry Marketplace.

— When: Nov. 4-7.

— Where: Ector County Coliseum.

— Admission prices: $10-$75.

— Where to buy tickets: http://boxofficesolutions.net/index.html

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