Kris Kringle show at HCC twice as big this year

November 22, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- On Saturday at 9:30 a.m., Linda Williams said there was a line of people "over the hill" waiting to get in the doors on the first day of the Kris Kringle Craft and Gift Show at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

"I couldn't believe it," said Williams, organizer of the annual event.

In its 25th year, the show moved to the ARCC this year with almost double the number of vendors.

Free parking was at a premium by midday Saturday, but Williams was prepared for that with many golf cart operators who took people to and from the show at no charge.

Admission to the show was either a new toy or nonperishable food item. Items were collected by volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church and will be distributed to the needy.

Once inside, shoppers found free door prize tickets, 10,000 free shopping bags and even a booth where they could "park" their purchases while they went back in to purchase more holiday goodies.


A self-proclaimed "Santa person," Anne Plotner of Hagerstown picked up a hand-painted holiday screen and a Santa gourd during her shopping.

"I've come to this before, but it is better here at HCC," Plotner said.

On first glance, Jackie LaPine of Hagerstown didn't seem to have any bundles when she left the show Saturday afternoon.

"I just bought some small jewelry items for gifts and they fit right in my purse," she said.

LaPine's friend, Joyce Pinkham, also bought some items at the show.

"I bought a volleyball necklace and a Christmas tree skirt," said Pinkham, who said she is a resident of both Hagerstown and Reno, Nev. "I'm very impressed because the prices were so reasonable."

A first-timer, Sue Rogers of Chambersburg, Pa., read about the show, and after her success Saturday, she vowed to return next year.

Opening her free shopping bag, Rogers showed off a snowman decoration that she was quite proud of.

Another newcomer to the Kris Kringle experience was Victoria Adams of Smithsburg.

"It was wonderful -- I got presents for my children in Utah," Adams said.

Williams said many of the 230 craft vendors came up and hugged her during the first day of the two-day show. The vendor fees pay the show's expenses and what is left over will go to Hospice of Washington County this year.

"There is also a donation bucket, free gift wrap, a special candle sale and raffle proceeds, which go to Hospice also," Williams said.

The Kris Kringle show started 25 years ago as a fundraiser for the late Haven Hoffman, known as Mrs. Santa Claus. Williams bought the show four years ago.

If you go

What: Kris Kringle Craft and Gift Show

When: Today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center, 11400 Robinwood Drive, Hagerstown

Food items and new toys will be collected for Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown for distribution to local needy families.

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