This weekend is Market in the Meadow, my favorite shopping weekend all year. It’s a holiday gift sale at Forest Meadow Junior High, with more than 180 vendors from all over the state bringing unique gifts and specialty merchandise you can’t find at the local mall. Proceeds are used by the FMJH PTA to support students, teachers and programs at the school.

When you’re ready for a break from shopping, have a bite at the Charger Café, run by PTA moms, and indulge with homemade baked goods from the family recipes of dedicated volunteers. You can also enjoy free entertainment from LH-area bands, drill teams, cheer squads, dance troups and show choirs – there’s a schedule of performing groups here.

With 180 merchants, there’s more variety than I can describe here, but I’ll feature one booth so you’ll get the idea. The Ridgewood Park United Methodist Youth Ministry will be selling homemade crosses crafted from 100% recycled metal. RPUMC parent and long-time mission trip adult leader Steve Mabry has fashioned each cross to be unique in its style, size and color – no two are exactly alike. Half of all proceeds will be given to the church’s youth ministry to pay for mission trips, ski trips and choir trips for the kids. You can pick up a map when you enter the market, or just wander the aisles and enjoy the shopping until you find the booth called “The Rugged Cross.”

Market hours are Saturday 9 am-5 pm and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. Entry is free, but parking isn’t easy – the market draws shoppers from far and wide – so bring your patience and consider carpooling or walking if you live nearby.