Something for everyone at Junior League’s annual Tampa Holiday Gift Market

The shopping extravaganza at the Florida State Fairgrounds expects to draw 30,000.
Children’s book author/illustrator Rebekah Phillips, founder of Pawz Publishing, was selected the Junior League of Tampa?s 2018 Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) winner, presented by Valley National Bank Women Entrepreneurs, to support female business owners in Tampa Bay. She will sell her products at the Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market on Nov. 9, 10 and 11 at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Pawz Publishing.
Children’s book author/illustrator Rebekah Phillips, founder of Pawz Publishing, was selected the Junior League of Tampa?s 2018 Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) winner, presented by Valley National Bank Women Entrepreneurs, to support female business owners in Tampa Bay. She will sell her products at the Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market on Nov. 9, 10 and 11 at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Pawz Publishing.
Published November 6 2018
Updated November 6 2018

TAMPA - A scratch-off map of America might be Isabel Dewey’s favorite find at the Junior League of Tampa Holiday Gift Market.

“You scratch off all the places you've been,” said Dewey, president of the 2,000-member women’s organization. “We are actually planning our summer vacations to places we haven't been to yet. I bought it last year and they’re coming back again.”

Kristin Douglas Art and 200 other merchants have booked booths to sell home accessories, clothing, jewelry, personalized gifts, toys and art Friday (Nov. 9), Saturday (Nov. 10) and Sunday (Nov. 11) to an estimated 30,000 shoppers at the Florida State Fairgrounds’ Expo Hall. Admission is $10.

Ellenton author/illustrator Rebekah Phillips, 36, is thrilled to have been selected to promote her business, Pawz Publishing. As the league's fourth Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) award winner, she receives a booth valued at $1,100 to sell her children’s books and plush velour toys that “carry the main character into kids' everyday lives.” Titles include Lily the Fancipoo, co-written with her mother, and Piper was Afraid. “My mother was my inspiration,” Phillips said. “She used to make up stories for me and my three brothers." Her newest series, Farlee & Friends, aims for older children, up to age 9. “It’s about healthy friendships, reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, about what it means to be a true friend.”

Holiday Gift Market co-chairs Sarah Heller and Kimy Marino have lined up entertainment and activities throughout the weekend, several events requiring a separate ticket, starting Thursday(Nov. 8) with a festive preview party from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring food, music and shopping for $35.

New this year: a mimosa Sip n’ Shop pre-opening experience Saturday costs $25 and includes admission to the market before the crowds arrive.

Too early? How about High Tea from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for $25. TeBella Tea Company, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Alessi Bakery will provide the treats.

Holiday crafts with Santa occupy the little ones at Clause’s Cabin from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for $40. Two Princesses breakfasts are sold out but the pretty ladies will be around for photo ops Friday morning for $25. There is no charge to romp in the Glazer Children’s Museum’s Imagination playground. Don’t worry about dad - the man cave area has two televisions and several food vendors close by.

The annual shopping extravaganza has raised more than $1 million since Publix signed on as presenting sponsor in 2016, Dewey said. "Almost every aspect of the Market has an underwriting sponsor, even our gift bags, so we clear more than $300,000 a year which funds the majority of our community projects."

Child welfare and education, with an emphasis on foster children, is the focus of 14 current community projects delivering literacy and life skills, health and fitness programs by partnering with community organizations, businesses and government agencies.

Contact Amy Scherzer at [email protected] or (813) 226-3332. Follow @Amy_Scherzer.

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