Mona Smalley, of Harker Heights, found the perfect gift for her husband, who is retired military, Sunday during the Fort Hood Officers’ Spouses’ Club’s 31st annual Holiday Bazaar at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

It was a clear mug with the 1st Calvary Division logo on it.

“It’s important to be here in the community and support it,” Smalley said.

About 1,300 attended the first of the two-day shopping extravaganza, which included items such as antique trunks, art, paintings, men’s and women’s jewelry, homemade crafts and holiday wreaths. Organizers hoped to match that crowd Sunday.

“We ended up having around 125 inside vendors,” said Lori Brooks, chair of the holiday bazaar. “We take up the whole entire civic center.”

Last year, the bazaar brought in more than $30,000, which went back into the community.

This year, some of the organizations they plan to distribute the funds raised to include the Red Cross, Santa’s Workshop, area food banks and emergency shelters, and scholarships for high school seniors in the spring.

“It’s a way to give back to the community as a whole,” she said. “We put a lot of work into (the bazaar) and we’re able to raise a lot of money, and we’re able to give it back.”

Mona Smalley, of Harker Heights, brought her friend, who is visiting from Dallas, because she wanted her to experience what Killeen has to offer while getting in the holiday spirit.

“I like coming because of the holidays,” she said. “There’s a little bit of everything. You get good gift ideas.”

Mary Matarazzo, of Killeen, has been attending the bazaar since it was held at Fort Hood.

“This is always the best show every year,” said Matarazzo. “They always have a lot of hand-crafted goods, so it’s always great.”

During the event, she bought items for her dog as well as looking for gifts for friends and family.

“This show is always the one that gets me started for the holidays,” Matarazzo said. “It always jump starts (the holiday season) for me.”

Brooks is already accepting vendor applications for next year’s show, which will be Nov. 16-17, 2013.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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