The Victoria Community Center will transform into a haven for shoppers looking for gifts that transcend the same old options at the eighth annual Victoria Faire.

On Saturday and Sunday, 70 vendors will converge on the dome, and shoppers will get a discount on admission when they bring a nonperishable food item for the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.

“This is a great chance to get started on the holiday shopping season with offerings not found in the mall, Target and Walmart,” said Lewanna Campbell, show director for Texas Market Guide headquartered in Kyle. “And it’s tax-free weekend.”

Uncommon gifts include handcrafted shaving razors, turned wooden pens and jewelry made from antique coins. LuLu’s Little Things can personalize totes, backpacks, caps and baby blankets, among other items, while customers shop. And gourmet foods, soaps, candles, home and holiday decor, toys, clothing, accessories, and fine and costume jewelry also will be among the offerings.

“We have a lot of handcrafted items you don’t see everywhere, and you get to meet the person who makes them,” she said.

Historically, the weekend event in Victoria has attracted 1,200 to 1,500 shoppers.

The Fry Shack food truck will park outside the center to serve hamburgers, Philly cheese steaks and a variety of deep-fried foods as well as cold drinks.

Campbell called the gourmet food vendors “a treat for the community” because shoppers love to sample their offerings.

All Of Us, a Louisiana company attending the Victoria event for the first time, will have three booths selling mixes for gourmet soups, dips, breads, cheese balls and other foods with samples for shoppers. Other gourmet food companies will sell herbs, spices, fudge, barbecue sauces, gourmet oils, roasted nuts and salsas also available for sampling.

“One thing to highlight is the main mission to work with food banks in every city where we go,” Campbell said. “Hunger is not slowing down anywhere, and we want to do all we can to help.”

Each of the last seven shows has collected from 200 to 700 pounds of nonperishable food items for the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent. The food bank works with almost 75 agencies including food pantries and soup kitchens to feed almost 30,000 people monthly across 11 counties.

From October to December, the charitable mood leading up to the holidays always results in numerous food drives and financial donations, and the food bank is “very fortunate,” said Meridith Byrd, director of community engagement for the food bank. But events like the Victoria Faire help with the other nine months of the year.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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