KILLEEN — Military spouses and volunteers kicked off the holiday season here recently.
The Fort Hood Spouses’ Club hosted its annual Holiday Bazaar Saturday and Sunday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
In its 38th year, the event drew 128 vendors from across Texas and the U.S., which sold everything from jewelry to bedding.
“We are one of a few who do a two-day event for our crafters,” Grace Phelps, Fort Hood Spouses’ Club Holiday Bazaar chairperson, said. “We have people who come from all over. The furthest away is Kansas for the vendors here.”
Proceeds from the bazaar go to the Spouses’ Club, which in turn uses the funds in the form of grants for the local community. They charge vendor booth rental fees and charge for entry tickets at the door in order to fill the coffers. The club hosts three fundraisers every year.
“We have a total of three money makers. This one is by far our biggest,” Phelps said. “And then we have a golf scramble in the spring and then we have Wild West Night in March. We make more money here than the others combined. It really garnishes the amount of the money that we use to turn around and give back to grants.”
Grants are given to those who apply for them. They vary from various organizations to non-profit groups.
“We give back to our community, so this allows us the opportunity to give back. We give our money to scholarship funds, we give money to different organizations in the community that service military families …” Lauri Duke, president of the Fort Hood Spouses’ Club, said. “I mean, it helps just to give back.”
Those who made their way to the convention center were impressed with the magnitude of the event and had a good experience browsing the offerings the vendors had on hand.
“It’s nice. It’s really nice,” said Andrea Diamond, a shopper at the bazaar. “They have a really huge selection. We were here last year. It’s awesome.”
The vendors were also pleased with the experience and the foot traffic.
“It’s a good show for us, so it’s a win for us and if we support the community, that’s even better,” Corkey Cootes, a merchant with Hara Beth Photography, said.