By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
It’s nearly Christmas day, and along with ham, turkey and other main dishes, many people will be eating a lot of desserts in the form of cakes and pies this weekend.
Wednesday, Liberal’s Southgate Mall is offering many local non-profits and churches the chance to participate in a citywide community bake sale where residents can purchase some of those treats.
Southgate Marketing Director Marshall Hopkins said he is a strong believer in interacting with the community, and he came up with the idea after a little bit of research.
“I checked around, and I thought one of the things a lot of churches and non-profits do is they like to have bake sales, but sometimes, they have a hard time finding a place to set it up,” he said. “They may try to set up in front of Wal-Mart or somewhere.”
Hopkins said, however, the weather this time of year is not conducive to that type of selling environment.
“I thought this is a good time of year to have a bake sale because a lot of people order home baked stuff for the holidays,” he said. “Why not just invite them to come indoors where it’s warm? If it’s a community wide bake sale, there’d be a lot more variety, and I think it would attract a lot more people.”
Hopkins originally wanted to do a bake sale for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, but since he did not come on board with Southgate until late November, he said a December bake sale was the choice.
He said he is planning a whole schedule of events for 2010 – all in order to bring more people to the mall.
“I want to do a bake sale for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the community,” he said. “We’re going to do two art shows – one in May and one in October. These’ll be regional art shows.”
Hopkins said the primary drivers behind the art shows are Liberal’s Baker Arts Center and an area school, Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
“I’m getting them together because both of them have an interest in art,” he said. “I believe in promoting local art. The atmosphere in there is conducive to several events.”
Hopkins said in addition to the two art shows and community bake sales, he is inviting the public to come and walk through Southgate.
“We’re getting ready to measure that for different routes,” he said. “We’ll draw up a map. If you want to walk a mile, you follow this route. If you want to walk two miles, you follow this route.”
Hopkins said this means people can walk as much as they want.
“It’s cool in the summer, warm in the winter, so for older people, it’s an ideal situation,” he said. “I’m knocking on doors to get some shops in there.”
Hopkins said he is not sure of what to expect for Wednesday’s bake sale, the first of its kind in Liberal, but he believes after a few of them take place, the idea will catch on.
“It’ll be something people start to look forward to,” he said. “I hope to build some traditions.”
Hopkins estimated around 10 non-profits would participate in Wednesday’s event, and he said at least two have already been put in place.
“We’re inviting every church, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, anybody else that’s a non-profit that wants to raise funds,” he said. “We’re inviting them to come down and do a bake sale.”
The citywide community bake sale will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in the commons area of the Southgate Mall. Hopkins said the sale’s purpose is to provide non-profit groups an opportunity to raise funds for special projects and to enable the community to obtain fresh home baked desserts and baked goods for the Christmas holiday.
For more information or to reserve a space, call (620) 272-4825.