By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – Celebration Village is serious business.
The annual holiday marketplace will have serious shopping with more than 100 vendors at Tupelo Furniture Market Building V. There will be serious sparkle as the marketplace preview party will once again host a Champagne Diamond giveaway and live auction on Wednesday night.
Beyond the serious fun, there’s purpose – supporting Sanctuary Hospice House, where the dying and their families can find comfort and dignity during the final days.
“What it means to this place,” is beyond measure, said Sanctuary Hospice administrator Linda Gholston.
Celebration Village, organized by the Sanctuary Hospice House Auxiliary, is the biggest single fundraiser. In 2012, it raised $360,000 for the hospice house. The money helps fund the operation of the hospice house covering the gap between the cost of care and Medicare and insurance reimbursement. It also allows the hospice house to help those without a payment source.
“We can welcome the patients who need the hospice house, regardless of their ability to pay,” Gholston said. “Our community does that for us.”
Sanctuary Hospice House was created so that people who were dying and their families would be able to get the benefit of holistic hospice approach when they couldn’t stay in their own homes. In addition to focusing on measures that provide comfort for the dying person, hospice care focuses on the emotional and spiritual well-being of the dying and their families.
This year, Sanctuary completed work on an eight-room addition, bringing its capacity to 24 patients. It will allow the house to serve about 100 more patients a year.
In a labor of love, the Sanctuary Hospice House Auxiliary, led this year by chairwoman Mary Connor Adcock, pulls together hundreds of volunteers to make Celebration Village come to life.
“We couldn’t do it without those ladies and gentlemen,” Gholston said.
Celebration Village – which will open to public shopping Thursday and run through Oct. 26 – gives shoppers a head start on their holiday lists.
Boutiques bring clothing and accessories for women and children, said Patricia Mitchell, who serves as vendor coordinator. There’s unique jewelry, pottery, art, gifts, Christmas decor and gourmet foods as well. The bakery’s hours have been expanded so shoppers can pick up casseroles and homemade goodies, too.
“This year, we have a vendor selling archery equipment and hunting clothes,” Mitchell said.
At the auxiliary booth, the 2014 Sanctuary Angel will be on sale as well as the new Sanctuary Hospice cookbook, which can be purchased for $25.
This year Rudolph Reruns is being reborn as Santa’s Toyland. The Sanctuary Hospice Junior Auxiliary is creating a Candyland theme for the space where gently used toys are given a new home. The proceeds go directly to the hospice house.
Sparkling preview party
The fun begins Thursday night at the annual preview party that begins at 6:30 p.m. In addition to shopping, the party features several special events.
This year, the live auction will feature fabulous trips like a Napa Valley wine tour, a visit to the Canadian Rockies and a Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field rooftop experience, along with a dinner for 20 from South, heirloom jewelry and more.
The Van Atkins Champagne Diamond Giveaway will be back for a second year at the preview party. Only 200 tickets will be sold for $100, and the first giveaway was a huge hit.
“We’ve had calls from people wanting to know if we’re doing it again,” Gholston said.
The ticket will get each person a champagne glass with a stone. The champagne diamond – worth $9,000 – will be the only one that weighs in at 1 carat. The other 199 stones will be fakes, but 10 will win the bearers Van Atkins gift cards.
Local physicians will be doing their part during the preview party.
“By popular demand, we’re bring back Docs on Call,” Gholston said.
Several doctors will be waiting tables during the event. Party-goers can vote for their favorite with tips. The winner will be crowned Emperor Practitioner of Celebration Village.