Start Christmas shopping in September? A bit early, maybe, but not when the Salt Lake Junior League opens the doors on its 4th annual Holiday Mart, "Tis the Season."

The shopping spectacular is scheduled September 27-30 at a new location, the Utah State Fairpark Grand Building.Admission is $4, or $3.50 with a coupon or a can of food. All canned goods will be donated to the Salt Lake Food Bank.

Shopping hours are:

Thursday, September 27: 2-10 p.m.

Friday, September 28: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday, September 29: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday, September 30: 10 a.m.-6 p.m..

More than 30 local and national merchants will display a wide variety of gift items, clothing, Christmas collectibles, jewelry, toys, books and gourmet food items.

Chalk Garden Gifts, for example, offers one-of-a-kind antique jewelry, oriental vases, antique silver pieces, European children's books and Lanny Barnard paintings and prints. Gifts are available from $3 to $65.

R.P. Benson, Denver, a popular participant in last year's mart, will return this year with affordable silver and high fashion jewelry.

Cherchies, Malvern, Penn.; and Frontier Soups, Lake Forest, Ill.; present gift wrapped gourmet spices and mustards as well as hearty homemade soup mixes.

Proceeds from the event return to the Salt Lake community in support of Junior League projects: Arts of the Challenged, Community Assistance Fund, OMNIBUS, Shart Your Heart and Home, AIDS Education and Prevention, S.T.A.R., Woman to Woman, and 55 Plus.

In addition to available holiday shopping, Sue Hale, special events coordinator for the Junior League, explained the community response.

"We have a number of businesses involved in the Holiday Mart. J.B's has generously donated an on-site restaurant during shopping hours. In addition, they will provide brunch on Sunday. Nordstrom's will sponsor a fashion show. Other major benefactors include Chevron and KMGR Radio."

Local restaurants, including the Epicurious Group-American Grill, Casa del Sol, EIBOS, Ferrantellis and Red's Frozen Yogurt, will provide trademark samples of their menus during the Saturday evening gala, "Holiday Magic."

The black-tie invited event features a cocktail buffet, beginning at 7 p.m. A designer fashion show begins at 8:30, and a silent auction continues through the evening.

"Elayne and the Elaines," a contemporized musical ensemble, will perform following the fashion show. Tickets are $30, and the public is invited.

Utah Jazz Night, sponsored by West One Bank, will kick off Friday, September 28, from 7-10 p.m. Representatives of the Jazz basketball team will be available with items for auction. A jazz band will accompany evening shoppers.

Get a head start on Christmas shopping with a stop at the Junior League Holiday Mart, "Tis the Season."