Home A different kind of Black Friday in Charlottesville

A different kind of Black Friday in Charlottesville


Last year, on what is traditionally the “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving, when the holiday shopping season traditionally cranks into overdrive, the Paramount Theater staged its very first Alternative Gift Fair, raising thousands of dollars for 17 of Charlottesville’s beloved non-profits, including organizations dedicated to energy, poverty, animal rescue, nature, the arts, education, innovation, and more.

newspaperOn this coming Black Friday, November 29th, 2013, from 12:00-7:00 p.m., The Paramount will reprise last year’s fantastic premiere, with nearly double the number of charities participating. At The Paramount Theater’s Second Annual Alternative Gift Fair, the fair’s sole stars and beneficiaries will again be Charlottesville’s beloved non-profits and charities.

At The Paramount’s Alternative Gift Fair, there will be no ‘things’ for sale as one might expect to find at a typical holiday bazaar. Instead, holiday shoppers at this virtual “mall” will visit dozens of local organizations, learn about their work and challenges, and decide whether to name a gift to that organization in honor of a friend, colleague or loved one. A gift donation might be adequate to provide school lunches for a week for a child, a hammer for a volunteer home rebuilder, or a book a month for an adult only now learning to read. The Alternative Gift Fair model offers a leg up to local non-profits who struggle to fulfill their missions in a difficult economy, particularly at year-end.



Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Building Bridges Charlottesville

Building Goodness Foundation

Carson Raymond Foundation

Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad

Habitat For Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

Literacy Volunteers of Albemarle/Charlottesville

Operation Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

Meals on Wheels


Ring Dog Rescue

Service Dogs of Virginia.



Alliance for Interfaith Ministries

Alzheimer’s Association

The Arc of The Piedmont

Charlottesville Free Clinic

The Helen Project International

Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA)

Jefferson Area Children’s Health Improvement Program (CHiP)

Lighthouse Studio

Madison House

North Branch School

Park School

Region Ten Community Services

Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary

Rotary Club of The Blue Ridge Mountains

Virginia Organizing


Paramount staff offers a one-stop checkout so there is no pressure on buyers. Charities don’t know who their donors are until they receive a list after the event, and even then the donor may choose to remain anonymous. Shoppers may pay by cash or credit card, and one hundred percent of their donations go to their designated charities. The Paramount absorbs all of the overhead costs, which this year is again generously underwritten by Victor Millner of Northwestern Mutual.

Families participating in the Downtown Tree Lighting can participate in this community day of giving. Following the downtown Christmas Tree Lighting, Junie B. Jones, everyone’s favorite first grader, will be performing at 6:30 pm. Junie learns an important lesson about giving as all of the students in Room One are happily creating the perfect holiday party – except how is Junie B. supposed to enjoy anything when she has drawn the name of her arch nemesis, Tattletale May, for her Secret Santa Gift! But wait – the Secret Santa gift is the perfect opportunity to give May exactly what she deserves…Maybe. An important lesson about giving is wrapped into this holiday story, and complements the Alternative Gift Fair that will be taking place in the lobby of The Paramount.



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