By Jill Dougher
The Junior League of Abilene is ready to start spreading Christmas cheer at the 29th annual Christmas Carousel. “A Heavenly Christmas!”, the theme for this year’s event, will take place from Nov. 5-8 in the Abilene Civic Center.
Customers can kick off holiday shopping as they peruse booths sponsored by more than 100 merchants. Other activities include a style show, a grand gala and breakfast with Santa.
According to the Junior League’s Web site, the merchants may vend anything from clothing and jewelry to children’s items, food and photography services, guaranteeing shopping and entertainment for all ages.
A committee of 30 women spends a year planning and executing the event. Allison Cowling, Christmas Carousel chairman, said she expects about 10,000 visitors at the event.
“This event is our sole fundraiser,” Cowling said. “Last year, we raised over $100,000 to give back to the community.”
The Junior League strives to serve the children in the community and to promote volunteerism, the Web site states. The money raised is used for grants, hygiene packages for elementary schools below the poverty line, funds for Child Protective Services and various other projects.
“It’s fun for the public, but we don’t want people to forget that this is a charity event,” Cowling said. “The money is going right back into the community.”
General admission to enter the market hall is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Children 12 and younger enter for free.
Katie Shipley, a junior speech pathology major from Dallas, said she is excited about the upcoming event.
“$5 isn’t that expensive, especially since I’d be getting a variety of different booths,” Shipley said. “The fact that they donate money for charity is even more of an incentive.”
Regardless of whether she does any Christmas shopping at the event, Shipley said simply attending has its rewards.
“Even if I end up not buying anything, at least I’m still a part of the process of giving back,” Shipley said.