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Holiday bazaar benefits Victoria women's group (Video)

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.
Updated Nov. 16, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.

Lisa Jenkins looks at stuffed animals with her granddaughter Mileigh Smith, 3, at the Northside Ranch, Pet and Garden Center booth Thursday at the Victoria Professional Express Network's Holiday Bazaar at Jaycee Hall.

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Thursday didn't bring an early Christmas for tiny Mileigh Smith, but it got the wheels turning on that ever-important shopping list.

The 3-year-old leafed through children's books, eyed jewelry displays and bopped to the music at the Victoria Professional Express Network's Holiday Bazaar. The excursion was a girls' night out Mileigh, her mom, Shara Smith, and grandma, Lisa Jenkins.

"We told her if she ate all her supper, she could shop with the ladies," Jenkins said, a bag of purchases clutched in one hand. "So we left the men at home watching TV."

Now in its third year, the bazaar is a way for people to kick off their holiday shopping and introduce them to area businesses, said Ann Moore-Hill, the organization's vice president-elect.

More than 35 vendors made their way to Jaycee Hall this year, said Moore-Hill, who also served as bazaar co-chairwoman. While she didn't have a total attendance count, about 7:30 p.m. she estimated about 100 people had ventured in.

Money raised at the bazaar goes to fund scholarships, said Vickie Romero, the organization's event coordinator chairwoman. One dollar from each ticket also went to the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.

Leticia Aguirre, a medical assistant from Victoria, began her holiday shopping last weekend, but said she got some good ideas Thursday. Instead of purchasing items there, she said she was after business cards.

"I know what they have here is a limited selection," she said. "This way, I can go into the stores and see everything."

April Grunewald, who began her shopping the same weekend as Aguirre, made several purchases at the bazaar. Those included items for her son and personalized ornaments.

The night offered more than gift ideas for the Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital clinical liaison, however. She said she learned about Crossroads businesses she'd never heard of before.

That exposure was something Susan Whitefield, director of Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry, said she hoped for. Whitefield's group ran the bazaar's gift-wrapping station and she said her goal was to get their name out there.

"We want more visibility, but we also want to give back," Whitefield said, adjusting the ribbons in front of her. "That's kind of what we're doing here. It's like volunteer work."

Daniel Torres, of Aqua Purification Inc., saw the event as a chance to reach his target audience. In the majority of households he works with, he said it's the women who make the decisions regarding drinking water.

"This was the place to be," he said from behind his table. "It's been good."

As for Mileigh, the little blonde with the leopard-print top and fringe boots, both Mom and Grandma said she was right at home.

"She loves to shop," Jenkins said with a chuckle. "I think we're in trouble."

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