Over the years, the Wimberley Lions Club has contributed over $4 million to the community to support thousands of people and hundreds of organizations.
WIMBERLEY — Secluded on 20 acres of shaded oaks is one of the largest outdoor markets in the Texas Hill Country, Wimberley Market Days. Chartered in 1969, “We serve” has continued to be the motto of the Wimberley Lions Club in organizing the market that gives back to the community.
“It’s all about the community,” said Bobby Burris, president of the Wimberley Lions Club. “There’s civic pride in our club, real patriotism in our club. I appreciate the comradery and the community that is
Pandemic challenges have hit many, yet the Wimberley Lions did not lose heart. After months of cancelled events, Wimberley Market Days opened its doors once again on Saturday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 7 to kick off the holiday season.
“We usually have 10 months of the year that we have Market Days,” Burris said. “We were down for six months because of COVID. That really is a change for how we do things. It really is our biggest fundraiser for our club.”
Proceeds from booth rentals, concession stands, parking lots and hauling go to Wimberley Lions grants that support local programs and non-profits. The Lions support several community efforts including Chamber of Commerce, Wimberley EMS, Crisis Bread Basket and Friends of the Wimberley Library.
Frank Curtis, third Vice President of the Lions, said the grants are also investments to the youth of Wimberley.
“Our money has historically gone to scholarships for graduating seniors,” Curtis said. “We’ve sent kids overseas during the summer for a cultural exchange program where they meet fellow students all over the world.”
Market Days is more than shopping in Wimberley — it’s an experience. Tourists visit from all over with their families to see what the excitement is about, Burris explained.
“It becomes almost a tradition for many of the tourists and the families that come to visit not only the market, but also the shops and stores down on the square,” Burris said. “They get to know Wimberley by coming and the whole business community really profits from all of those tourists being there.”
While the market typically hosts about 500 booths with 200 volunteers, there were only about 350 booths and less than 50 volunteers due to safety regulations on Saturday, Nov. 7. Mandatory face shields or face masks and six-foot social distancing were required. Hand sanitizing stations were also implemented for vendors and attendees to maintain necessary precautions throughout the market.
Despite all emotional stress, the pandemic has taught families to spend time together every chance they get because there are only so many hours in each day.
“There’s so many that come into Wimberley,” Curtis told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. “We are noticing this year that a lot of people were coming for the first time to Market Days. We think that’s related to being cooped up with the virus, people are ready to get out and try something new.”
The Wimberley Lions are hopeful to have the next Market Days on Saturday, Dec. 5, pending the mayor’s approval.