WAXAHACHIE — In a few short days, the Waxahachie Civic Center will transform into a one-stop shop with nearly 100 booths ranging from home goods to potential employers and even a few for the gadget or boutique enthusiasts.

After a few tweaks on the branding side of things, the annual Ellis County Expo and Spring Market will make its return to the civic center ballrooms Saturday, March 4 with "everything Ellis County has to offer." The Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce with the backing of title sponsor, Gateway Mortgage Group, organizes the event that runs from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

"It is definitely not a craft fair," said Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce CFO Sandy King. "In fact, it is just such a wide variety because there is everything from insurance to colleges to banks to mortgage companies and then, of course, you have your boutiques and antiques. There will also be jewelry vendors, clothing booths, and even a spa that will be offering massages.

"You could easily spend 5 to 10 minutes at each booth and not have a problem with it. We are still working on our food vendors, but we are going to have a variety of food out there."

According to King, the biggest noticeable change from last year to this, is the drop of the market being labeled as a "women's expo."

"Last year's event was specifically organized to attract females, so it was a women's expo. This year, even though it's always going to attract to women because women are shoppers, we did take that women's out of the title, so the men didn't feel neglected," King explained. "[...] While we do have a lot of the same booths, we have a lot of new ones also. For example, we have a lot of vintage stuff and a lot of the people who do home parties and a lot of our downtown merchants. We are even going to have an entire section dedicated to [the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association] that will just say 'Welcome to downtown Waxahachie.' We are an Ellis County Expo, so we are going to pull in vendors from all of the county, but we are really excited about our Waxahachie crew."

For those uninterested in shopping but still desiring an afternoon out of the house, don't worry — the chamber has you covered.

The Ellis County SPCA will be on site with all of their furry friends looking for a new "fur" ever home. In the same parking lot, Moncrief Cancer Institute and Baylor Scott and White — Waxahachie will offer cancer screenings and medical advice. There will also be gadgets and gizmos available to test from C.A. Wilson's, such as a plethora of TVs or appliances that fit practically any budget, or even the latest from T-Mobile.

In addition to the shopping, there will be stage performances every hour that range from local dance studios to "Midnight Train," a cover band that plays country, classic rock and blues from the 1960's to present.

As of midweek, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce had secured reservations for approximately 70 of the 92 booth spots available. However, King noted the chamber fully expects for the remaining spots to be filled before the event.

For more information or to purchase booth space, call the chamber at (972) 937–2390 or visit the newly remodeled and released Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce website, which is fully set up for those interested in ordering a booth, as well. The web address is www.waxahachiechamber.com and, once there, scroll down to the artwork for the Ellis County Expo and Spring Market and click.

The deadline to reserve a booth is Monday, Feb. 27.

Admission is $5 with kids 10 and under being free. There will also be stage performances every hour on the hour.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1470