SUN CITY CENTER – Area residents can get their first taste of Christmas shopping Saturday at the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber member Jennifer McCafferty is hosting the 2nd Annual Christmas in July “street party” for folks to shop, eat and visit with friends and neighbors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – and the entire community is invited. Last year’s party drew more than 500 people. More are expected this year.
The event will feature 53 vendors, 28 in the chamber’s banquet room and 25 outside in its parking lot. Santa and his elves will be on hand, offering samples of Jen’s tasty cold ‘nog to the background sounds of Christmas music.
Shoppers will find a diverse array of items, including baked goods, pet products and fresh veggies; honey, cheese, organic and goat milk soaps and body products; lighted wine bottle art, handcrafted jewelry and photography; and pickles, salsas, jellies, spices and dips.
“There’s a bit of something for everyone,” McCafferty said, adding she expects the crowd will be pleased. “I do this for the community and to help these small businesses make a living. Many came from corporate America and had to reinvent themselves after the downsizing and layoffs of the recent recession.”
McCafferty was one of those casualties. She lost her job in 2011 after nine years at a printing and promotional products company, and started her own business – Jen’s Marketing – the following year.
Then last July she hosted her first Christmas in July event in Sun City Center, which was followed in the fall with monthly markets in Apollo Beach and Waterset. Her latest, a market in Largo, will open Sept. 5. McCafferty has brought in a wide variety of food vendors for Christmas in July. They include Authentic Empanadas, Brooklyn Knish, Miss Vi’s Caribbean Chicken & Pork, Flaco’s Dogs, Big Ralph’s Smoothies, Sereneateas fresh fruit lemonades and the Cheese Lodge.
As in the past, part of the proceeds will benefit charity.
McCafferty has selected Critter Mama Rescue as this event’s nonprofit group. Critter Mama, aka Robin Roberts, rescues abandoned, neglected and unwanted dogs under 30 pounds and provides them with medical care, as needed, required shots, training and placement into stable homes. A donation box and photos of pets currently up for adoption will be placed at McCafferty’s’s table.
For more information, call (813) 846-1316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.