For many people the holiday shopping experience can be overwhelming and done at the very last minute. What if there was a place where you could buy great gifts, get gift ideas, be entertained and eat delicious food? Your holiday gift dreams have been answered with the Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival. Located in the Tacoma Dome this massive festival needs all the room they have with over 550 vendors, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment. Not only will you find holiday items here but there is truly something for everyone. Dont forget that purchase of one ticket grants you access to the entire festival weekend.
During its over three decades of existence the Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival has been bringing thousands of people and vendors into the Tacoma community. Not only is this a great event to find gifts but it acts as a noticeable boost to the local lodging establishments, restaurants and shops of Tacoma. This event is a tradition for many who make it an annual trip. Upon entering the Tacoma Dome you’ll be immersed in a unique shopping experience. The lights in the dome are turned down so all the booths and vendors can shine. It is reminiscent of a winter wonderland especially when the choir sung holiday music fills the arena. Whether you're a fan of holiday shopping or not this event has something for you. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to see this many vendors in one location. We got the opportunity to interview Susie O’Brien Borer Sales Manager for Showcase Events about this great holiday festival.
RAL: Tell me about the event and how you're involved.
SB: Showcase Events is proudly going into the 33rd year of producing the Tacoma Holiday Food & Gift Festival. Showcase Events has extensive experience in producing festivals and it is on display in the iconic Tacoma Dome each October. Annually Showcase events is responsible for this festival, plus the Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show, Salt Lake Family Christmas Show and Great Alaskan Sportsman Show. I’ve been with Showcase Events for over 20 years now. I learned the trade from Don and Love Myers, the original coordinators of the festival. For years they poured seeming endless time and effort into the success of the festival and I try to carry on in the same tradition. Over the years the festival has continued to grow in size and notoriety due to our dedication to providing a great experience for all who attend.
RAL: What makes this festival unique?
SB: The Tacoma Dome show is unique not only because it is the largest and oldest retail holiday gift and gourmet food show in Washington State but it is a dimmed show in the largest wooden structure in the United States. The Dome lights are turned down and each booth space is highlighted with décor. People ask me “is it only holiday items at this show?” No. There is just about everything you can imagine.
RAL: What will visitors find at the festival?
SB: Some of the vendors that you might see are handmade Santa’s and angels, ornaments, personalized signs, metal art, original glass art, yard art, wood turned bowls and pens, handmade leather bags, ceramics, pet items, unique jewelry, wonderful specialty foods that you can sample and buy. There is so much more you have to see it to believe it. One paid ticket for $14.50 will allow you access to the show all 4 days and kids 12 and under are free. You can visit www.holidaygiftshows.com for more information on the show and to preview some of the fabulous vendors that will attend this year.
RAL: What the typical demographic of the people who attend?
SB: We have about 550 booth spaces between the two halls and draw about 40,000 attendees. 80% of our attendees are female as this is a holiday shopping show. They love it and it is a tradition to kick off the holiday season with their mom, daughters or girlfriends.
RAL: Tell me about the food, entertainment and environment people will at the festival.
SB: We have been working on bringing back more handcrafters and specialty food vendors for our events. Last year we added a couple of wonderful sponsors to our cooking program “Cooking for the Holidays”, Bates Technical College and Renewal Remodels and Additions. During our cooking program we bring in guest chefs from around the Puget Sound to demonstrate their skills, share their secrets and a recipe with the public. This year I wanted something fun for everyone so Snow will magically fall in the Tacoma dome at 12 and 2 everyday! I have also, through the help of Center Plate at the Tacoma Dome, been approved for Food Trucks to come in and serve inside the building. We have also partnered with another company who has agreed to redesign our Santa area and give attendees more options for professional Santa picture’s. We also have local entertainment on our main stage and local beloved pianist Juan Perez in the lobby of our show greeting people with his welcoming smile and holiday music setting the mood before you even walk through the doors of the Dome.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the festival?
SB: We are lucky with our event as I do have a couple of hotel options located really close to the Tacoma Dome. The Tacoma Dome is located conveniently right off of 1-5 on the Puget sound. The two closest hotels are the Best Western at the Tacoma Dome and the LaQuinta. We have group blocks at both hotels. The Ramada is the first to fill up as it is located on site. I have RV parking on site. Limited full hook up locations and many self-contained spaces. A few other close by lodging options include Hotel Murano, Villa Bed and Breakfast and the Courtyard Tacoma Downtown.
For more information please visit the festival website.