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A shopping frenzy

Stefanie Hernandez Crown Point Ind. looks glassware Majestic Glass booth during Holidaze Sell-a-bratiPorter County Expo Center Valparaiso Ind. Nov. 17

Stefanie Hernandez of Crown Point, Ind., looks at glassware at the Majestic Glass booth during the Holidaze Sell-a-bration at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso, Ind., on Nov. 17, 2012. Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 27, 2012 6:10AM



Shoppers recently jammed the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso for the annual Holidaze Sell-a-bration, looking for holiday snacks, Christmas décor and gift ideas.

The event drew 170 vendors, and promoter Mario Alvarez expected several thousand people to visit during the weekend.

“I’ve got vendors from Arkansas here, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, (as well as Indiana),” Alvarez said, adding shoppers come from all over, too. “They come from 50 miles, really — Warsaw, South Bend and some from Indianapolis.”

Mosaic artist Susan Stotts of Portage offered plates, trivets and other wares decorated with brightly colored tiles. She recently retired from BP, where she worked as a welder and pipefitter.

“I had to do something with my hands,” she said, adding the craft show was her second event.

A show in Indianapolis didn’t pan out, but she decided to try the one at the Expo Center because it was close to home.

“I had no idea how big this was,” Stotts said. “It’s huge.”

Toys, baskets, jewelry, handmade items and other wares filled the booths. Shoppers said they liked the selection offered at the show, plus items they can’t find at chain stores.

Debbie Blahunka of Hebron came to the event with her friend, Dianna Goad of Crown Point. Blahunka said she’d made one purchase, but the two had just arrived.

“There’s something of everything,” Goad said. “I look for grab-bag gifts for Christmas for family.”

The show also brought in Kathie Wisniewski of Chesterton, who attends almost every year with a friend from her old neighborhood in Chicago. Wisniewski bought a shell for her purse, doll clothes, a cat toy and dips to make for the holidays.

“I have a list of people in my head I have to buy for, including myself,” she said, adding she likes “the variety of vendors, from food to creativity to hand-made stuff. And it’s only $1 to get in.”



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