A popular early Christmas shopping event returns this Saturday in Osage County.
In its 17th year, the Loose Creek Christmas Extravaganza will feature more than 40 vendors offering everything from handmade quilts to woodwork products to popcorn and a lot of things in between.
"Every year it seems like we get something new and it goes over really well," organizer Jerri Wildhaber said. "We've got several that are selling boutique-style clothing, and those booths over the last couple of years have done really well."
This year's list of vendors includes several crafters and woodworkers; direct-sell products like Scentsy, Norwex, Tupperware, Avon and Mary Kay; and local favorites like JR Farm Toys, Osage Chic Boutique and Makin' Magic Dough Art.
"A lot of people love coming to get the dough ornaments because you can get them personalized," Wildhaber said. "She comes every year, and she stays really busy."
The food also keeps people coming back year after year. Homemade concessions include pork burgers, rope sausage sandwiches and baked goods.
Wildhaber's family, with parents Debbie and James "Porky" Boehm, started the Christmas Extravaganza in Linn, but it soon outgrew its original venue and they relocated to the larger Loose Creek Community Center.
When Wildhaber's sister, Megan Boehm, died in a car accident in 2003, the family named a scholarship fund in her honor and began supporting Fatima High School seniors with the expo's proceeds.
"This is our only fundraiser that we do, and we give all the money that we earn back in scholarship form to multiple seniors," Wildhaber said.
They've awarded more than 100 scholarships in amounts varying from $150-$400 over the past 14 years.
Admission to the Loose Creek Christmas Extravaganza is free. Proceeds for the scholarship fund are raised through booth rental fees and concessions sales.
The shopping event runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Loose Creek Community Center, 173 Osage County Road 403.
"My suggestion would be to come early because lots of people show up at 8:45 ready to shop," Wildhaber said.