Lioness Christmas Expo Offers Many Options To Area Shoppers

The Calais Lioness held its All I Want For Christmas Expo Dec. 29 at Calais Motor Inn. Dozens of vendors displayed their products and crafts for 250 shoppers looking for the perfect gifts for their loved ones this holiday season.  (Photos by Marla Hoffman).

The Calais Lioness recently held its first ever “All I Want for Christmas Expo.”  This one-stop shopping extravaganza featured local businesses, artisans, consultants and organizations all under one roof at the Calais Motor Inn.

Approximately 250 shoppers came out to support the Lioness’ efforts of promoting shopping locally. Each was charged a $2 admission fee that benefited the Lioness’ charities fund. The vendors on hand were not charged for space, however, each donated an item or gift certificate to a Chinese raffle that also benefited the Lioness charities. 

Much like the club’s popular Superdraw held each summer during International Homecoming Festival, this raffle was just as exceptional. There were 60 items available to take a chance on winning.

“Our expectations were exceeded with the success of the raffle,” Lioness Laurel Perkins said. “The prizes donated were amazing and the number of tickets we sold was much greater than anticipated.” 

Shoppers at the event not only enjoyed the convenience of having 45 merchants under one roof, they also took advantage of the socializing aspect involved.  

“I loved it and had so much fun, shopping and talking with friends,” said Ann Brackett of Calais. “What a great crowd.”

Baileyville resident Jane Smith said she came to see what the buzz was about.  Having two daughters participating for two separate businesses, and another a member of the Lioness Club, she was happy to have completed so much of her holiday shopping at one destination.

“Not only did this event save me time on my Christmas shopping, I am pleased that I was able to support so many local merchants,” said Smith. She also explained that the array of goods and services was “simply amazing.”

The Calais Motor Inn had beverages available from their dining room bar, and the ladies of Lioness provided free hors d’oeuvres. Vocalists Meghan Clark and Kylie Donovan volunteered to sing Christmas carols, and saxophonist Sam Coltart entertained the crowd with his music.

The participating merchants and organizations were pleased with the turnout, and many have already requested to return next year. 

Local businesswoman Debbie Taylor described the event as “a mini-mall all in one room.”

“It gave us, the businesses, the opportunity to sell our goods, socialize with the public and make the public aware of our offerings,” said Taylor.

Insurance agent Teresa Kowalski agreed, saying, “It was great to meet and network with so many other local businesspeople.” She also took the time to shop around at the various booths, allowing her to shorten her holiday list. 

Because of the positive feedback and evident success of the event, the Calais Lioness Club plans to make the one-stop shopping destination an annual event. Like their Christmas Parade which is held annually on the first Friday of December, they hope to make this something the community can look forward to each and every holiday season.