Kitty Lane, events coordinator at Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, provides her insider’s guide to Holiday House, the official start to the holiday shopping season.
What is Holiday House and why go?
Holiday House is the ultimate Christmas shopping experience and features artisan vendors from all over the country whose products are otherwise unavailable in Little Rock. Eventgoers will find delicious food and beverage items (yep, you can sample), a plethora of children’s items, beautiful home décor, apparel and so much more. It is a great way to start checking off that holiday list. Buy for someone special, or even gift yourself. It is the season of giving, after all.
As a Junior League of Little Rock (JLLR) member and sustainer, I absolutely love Holiday House. It truly is a labor of love with the members, as hundreds of JLLR volunteers work to make it successful. It’s a huge part of JLLR’s mission of improving our community. For 25 years, this event has collectively raised more than $5 million to fund local community projects including Stuff the Bus, Nightingales, PARK, Kota Camp and Boosters & Big Rigs. More than 80 percent of all funding for the JLLR is generated by Holiday House. There are groups of family members and friends who have been coming for years. They look forward to these annual outings, and have so much fun shopping and visiting. We are hoping to raise half a million dollars this year, and this will be raised only from ticket sales and booth fees; we don’t take any commission from vendors’ sales.
What's the best way of surviving the madness of parking?
Last year some 15,000 people attended this three-day Christmas shopping bonanza. The event takes place each year at the Statehouse Convention Center in the heart of downtown Little Rock. Ample parking is available at two nearby decks, literally steps away from the event – Convention District Public Parking (201 Main St.) and Robinson Center Parking Deck at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel (424 W. Markham St.). Each deck is secure and well-lit, and rates for each deck are $2 per hour/per vehicle, $12 per consecutive 24-hour period/per vehicle.
What are the best tips for shopping, navigating the booths, etc.?
Holiday House is a huge event with over 100 vendors. Eventgoers should allow plenty of time to get the most out of their shopping experience. You may want to take a notepad for jotting down notes or simply put them on a smartphone with booth numbers, names, and items of interest to serve as a reminder for going back and purchasing after “window-shopping.” And keep those phones charged; text check-ins with your party might be equally important!
Your favorite event of Holiday House?
I really like the Preview Party. Typically, it serves as the multiday shopping extravaganza kickoff event. It’s a time when you can shop before the general public does. And, there is plenty of great food and refreshments. It’s a win-win.
Holiday House will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center Nov. 10-12. Tickets to the preview party on Nov. 9 are $45 (VIP tickets available for $75) and include hors d’oeuvres and drinks. A three-day shopping pass is $20 and a single-day shopping pass is just $10. There are also special fun events taking place such as Ladies Night on Thursday, Nov. 10, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., ($30) featuring drinks and Mexican food. And cookies and milk with Santa on Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m.-noon. Find out more at the Junior League's website.