Count down to Christmas begins for community

Huntington community members shopped until they dropped while getting into the Christmas spirit and giving back to the community.  Shopping, live entertainment and pictures with Santa were provided at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Saturday Dec. 1, for the second annual Countdown to Christmas.

Owner of Barn Beauty Love, Tiffany M.R. Ferguson, said she created the event to be accessible by anyone in the public and give them the opportunity everyone else has.

“I wanted to be able to let other small business owners have a place to sell their goods and do something good for the community, so that’s why it’s free admission and the pictures with Santa are free,” Ferguson said.

There was a pick your passions donation table at the event that allowed people to leave food, toys and pet supplies for people and animals in need. Ferguson said the event grew from a consuming event to a fundraising.

“When I first started it was more of a selfish thing,” Ferguson said. “I sell products that a lot of other people carry, and it was hard for me to find an event that didn’t already have a representative there for the company, so I decided to put my own event together and invite other businesses and it grew into something more to give back.”

Solo singers, a school choir and Santa and Mrs. Claus attended the event. Ferguson said she decided to have the event during Christmas because it is the time of year for giving.

“Christmas brings the spirit of giving and is a fun theme to have, and magical time of year,” Ferguson said. “All around it helps the guests that walk through the door and also helps the people that are trying to sell things to make a living for their families.”

Ferguson said she hopes that the event allows people to converse with the business owner to where they can find the best gift for someone special to them.

“I want people to have a personal interaction with the people who represent their business,” Ferguson said. “As well as all the artisans with hand made crafts that are so unique can explain their creation to the buyer so the gift is personalized for their loved ones.”

Sarah Chafin, co-owner of Runway Couture, said she set up a booth of holiday gifts and apparel to sell to customers, and while she was there she met many other business owners.

“I was able to socialize a lot with people, so we got to meet a lot of other vendors and businesses and chat with them about things we could do and ideas for the store,” Chafin said.

Chafin said she was reared on retail, and where it has always been part of her life it’s second nature.

“I’ve been doing retail since I was six with my mom. I used to go to shows like this when I was 10 and handout perfume samples, and my mom would pay me $20 an hour,” Chafin said.

Ferguson said in years to come she hopes the event only grows in the heart of giving.

“I hope that people come to expect this event every year so they know they can leave donations for people who are in need, and I just hope that it’s a fun, family event where they can get gifts and see Santa,” Ferguson said.

Lillie Bodie can be contacted at [email protected].