The Anna Jaques Hospital Aid Association is kicking off the holiday season in style with “A Merry Night Out.”

Twenty-five businesses from Newburyport and surrounding towns are participating in the festive fundraiser, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Blue Ocean Event Center at Salisbury Beach. It is an expanded, shopping-centric version of the “Holidays in Bloom” event held the past two years, said chairwoman Mimi Shenk, a member of the aid association board.

Sponsored by the Jacalyn Bennett Lingerie Collection, the event is billed as a “ladies night out” — “a place where women can really shop for themselves or for the holidays,” Shenk said. Of course, men are more than welcome to come shop and enjoy the evening, too.

“Bennett and Company has proudly resided in Newburyport for over 30 years, and I am overjoyed to sponsor such a wonderful women’s event, hosted by Anna Jaques Hospital,” said Jacalyn Bennett, president and CEO of Jacalyn E.S. Bennett and Company on Water Street. “May the ‘Merry Night Out’ event and supporting stores truly celebrate and nurture every woman’s inner beauty.”

Claudia Harris, owner of The Elephant’s Trunk on Inn Street, has been helping out with the planning of the shopping night.

“I thought it was a fabulous idea because I know it’s been successful in other places,” said Harris, who has been running the clothing and jewelry store since 1973. “It shows support for the stores and Anna Jaques Hospital, and vice versa, which is beneficial to all.”

Harris and her staff of five will all be on hand at the event to sell a selection of both items from the shop and special items sent from some of the designers. Offerings will include shibori silk clothing from Kiss of the Wolf, shirts from Vitamin, handbags from Doreen Hakem, cashmere sweaters from Zoe Couture and In Cashmere, and silver jewelry from Uno de 50.

Mother and daughter Beverly and Jordan Fowler, who co-own Sage Market & Design on Merrimac Street, plan to answer questions and share tips on holiday decorating, container gardening and other topics. They will sell a variety of home decor and accessories, as well as premade floral arrangements.

“We’re very excited to be involved in it,” Beverly Fowler said.

Another mother-daughter pair, Karen and Katie Shernan, will offer items from their two businesses, Newburyport Olive Oil Co. and Port Plums in The Tannery Marketplace. They purchased the olive oil place last December and opened the cookware store next door this summer.

“We’ll be bringing a set of our most popular olive oils and balsamic vinegars and custom-made jams,” Karen Shernan said, adding that tastings will be available.

They will also have serving ware made by New England artisans.

Pretty Poppy on Pleasant Street and Rocas on Merrimac Street, stores that both previously participated in “Holidays in Bloom,” will each bring a variety of clothing and accessories.

“I mostly bring things that can be tried on without a dressing room — coats, capes, scarves, accessories, maybe boots,” said Rosemary Silva, owner of Rocas.

Pretty Poppy will have “a really great selection of items” from the recently expanded store, including “our newest ponchos and vests,” jewelry, and accessories, as well as stocking stuffers, manager Sue DiMartino said.

Many of the vendors are planning to offer raffles, discounts and other features, like mannequins or models showing off fashions.

“We’re using all our creative juices for a special (Christmas-themed) display,” Harris said.

“We’ll definitely have our handsome male models walking around,” said Lisa Burke, co-owner of Farley’s of Newburyport on State Street.

The upscale men’s clothing store will also have an expert in fitting and sizing on hand to help women choose the right options for their husbands and male relatives, Burke said.

In addition to offering one-stop shopping, “A Merry Night Out” will also feature a number of “pop-up” demonstrations throughout the evening, Shenk said.

Blue Ocean’s Seaglass Restaurant & Lounge, which will offer food stations for grazing at the event, will have a bartender showing how to mix up holiday cocktails and a chef walking guests through a recipe for butternut squash soup.

Stylists from Interlocks Salon + Spa on Merrimac Street will be doing “French twists and French braiding,” as well as demonstrating false eyelashes and smoky eye makeup, Shenk said.

“We’re hoping to just make this a wonderfully exciting night, a great night for the vendor, as well as the customer,” Shenk said.

All of the proceeds from “A Merry Night Out” go to the aid association, which raises money throughout the year for patient care and services at the hospital. Last fall, the group’s annual donation was a record-breaking $138,000.

If you go

What: “A Merry Night Out”

When: Thursday, Nov. 5, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: Blue Ocean Event Center, 4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury

How much: Tickets are $50 per person or $300 for a reserved table of six, available online at or by calling 978-463-1176.

A gem of a raffle

Even those who cannot attend “A Merry Night Out” are welcome to enter a drawing for a pair of diamond earrings worth $2,300.

Matt and Karyn Khatib, owners of M.K. Benatti Jewelers on State Street in Newburyport, will donate 100 percent of the money from raffle ticket sales to the aid association.

“We love supporting Anna Jaques,” Karyn Khatib said.

The couple also donated a $5,000 shopping spree for the association’s Great Chefs Night this past spring.

Raffle tickets are available now at the jewelry store or online at and cost $20 for one or $50 for three. 

Participating businesses

Anna Jaques Hospital gift shop

Alexander Ryan Home and Gifts

Amy Williams

By the Sea Unique Gifts

Callie & Company

Chococoa Baking Co.

The Elephant’s Trunk

Farley’s of Newburyport

Jacalyn E.S. Bennett and Company

Interlocks Salon + Spa

Lowell’s Boat Shop

Nunan Florist & Greenhouses

Newburyport Olive Oil Co.

Partridge in a Bear Tree

The Party Cake

Pawsitively Best Friends

Port Plums

Pretty Poppy


RR Traders

Sage Market + Design


Soak Shoreline

Tastefully Simple

Wicked Cool Sea Glass

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