By Sarah Pyo | Editor-in-Chief
One magical day of the year, Spice Village opens up its doors after hours to give back to the Waco community and show appreciation to their customers. Holiday Sparkle is Spice’s biggest philanthropic event.
Holiday Sparkle is an evening full of festive vibes, games, prizes, food and drinks. Spice offers the first 100 customers goodie bags and provides games throughout the shops for a chance to win merchandise or discounts. Customers can also participate in a free raffle for a chance to win quality products chosen from various shops throughout Spice.
Spice offers this special evening for an admission fee of 10 canned goods or $10. This is donated to Food for Families, a one-day drive in Texas hosted annually by Boy Scouts of America, Texas Army National Guard, KWTX-TV and H-E-B Grocery Company, the very next day. Spice purposely plans its special event before the Central Texas food drive.
“It’s a way for me to show appreciation to our customers. It’s a way for me to give back something to the community by doing the food drive,” said Jennifer Wilson, owner of Spice Village.
The first Holiday Sparkle event was planned in 2012 as merely a customer appreciation night, but Wilson also wanted to make a charitable contribution. Spice then incorporated the Central Texas food drive, which happened to fall on the Friday after Holiday Sparkle.
Planning for the event starts the first week of September, and as the day of the event draws near, Spice undergoes a complete decorative change into a winter wonderland. In addition, Holiday Sparkle is one of the few events when Spice is fully staffed and calls on extra help from their tenants.
“It’s an all-around great feeling to be working for a great cause and having fun doing so,” said Madison Vanwinkle, a Spice employee. “It’s exciting and gets us so pumped up to see so many people coming out to support Spice.”
Some of Spice’s tenants also volunteer to help out during Holiday Sparkle. Leben Riebe and Brittany Barker, owners of Grae Apparel within Spice, have participated every year to offer better customer service and provide their own games, prizes and discounts for their merchandise.The event also gives customers a chance to meet the store owners.
“One of the reasons I look forward to it is because each year, it’s like a party, a celebration,” Barker said. “People that haven’t come to [Spice] before visit and see it at its best.”
Spice looks to beat last year’s record-setting 7,052 pounds.
“For me, it’s just a feel-good thing to see that so many people want to participate and so many people want to come. We already have people calling right now wanting to know the date of it,” Wilson said.
This year, Holiday Sparkle will be Nov. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. Spice Village is located at 213 Mary Ave.