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Volunteers had wrapped up those items donated by local businesses and vendors to be part of the silent auction at Gillespie Center’s 26th annual Holiday Boutique, opening Nov. 27. (Elizabeth Hustad/Laker Pioneer)

The 26th annual Holiday Boutique at the Gillespie Center opens Nov. 27 and just as in Christmases past, your shopping local will put you on the nice list with 20 percent of the vendors’ sales also benefiting the Mound community center.

The boutique traditionally has offered a cornucopia of both handmade and non-handmade goods: dish towels, soaps and table runners; paintings by local artists and books by local authors; sewn blankets with the Westonka White Hawks emblem,; an assortment of notecards, jewelry and winter accessories…and a few new vendors this year, too, said Gillespie director Mindy Anderson.

There will also be a silent auction of themed baskets, put together from items donated by local businesses and participating vendors.

Gillespie isn’t offering its popular kids’ shopping event, Santa’s Treasures, this year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and for Anderson that has only made the boutique all the more important.

“The blessing for us is that our vendors don’t sit at their tables like a normal arts and crafts fair.” Anderson said that vendors were especially enthusiastic that the boutique was still a go. The shows many of them rely on for showcasing their talents didn’t happen this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

Anderson said that she and others at Gillespie have been working to ensure that the boutique can happen with minimal risk.

Apart from strategically placed sanitizing stations and plexiglass at the front desk (which will be replicated at the boutique’s cash registers), all visitors are required to wear a face mask, receive a no-contact temperature check and sign in at the door. Anderson said that only 10 people are being admitted to a room at a time, a practice that will extend to the boutique as well. Shopping baskets will be sanitized between uses and gloves will be on hand for shoppers who want them.

The hot lunch and Gillespie singers aren’t part of the package this year, but Anderson said holiday music will still be playing in the background and that a pianist will be there at times, too.

“Everybody’s really kind about helping us make it happen,” she said. “It takes a lot of leg work to make it happen, but it’s really worthwhile to see it come together [...] It’s that time of year where people are happy to see everybody. And especially now, with this COVID pandemic, even if they just see them briefly.”

Boutique hours are Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 30 - Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Gillespie Center is located at 2590 Commerce Blvd., Mound.

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