Ladies work hard preparing for St. Bernard Christmas bazaar
The 30-anniversary event is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 4.
It’s the year of the owl for the women of St. Bernard Catholic Church.
The popularity of last year’s penguins inspired them so much that, for the 30th anniversary holiday bazaar, the craft ladies are focusing on owls. And hats.
The bazaar will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at St. Bernard Parish Hall. The theme of the bazaar this year is “Take off your hat for 30 years.”
The penguins were popular but very labor intensive, bazaar organizer Patty Carter explained. It was time for a change. Pinterest had some cute owl patterns so they decided to go that direction.
Planning for the bazaar begins each year just after Christmas, volunteer Jeannene White said. She’s been volunteering since the early ’90s. The new year is usually when the quilters begin on the collaborative quilt for the raffle. By March, work days are planned for every Tuesday and there’s always a job for everyone.
Some of the volunteers don’t attend St. Bernard, Carter said. They just enjoy the bazaar.
Some crafts are made assembly-line style, White said. One person may cut, another sew, and another stuff. People choose the job they are comfortable with.
There’s always socializing, too, Carter added.
Some women prefer to work at home: They may come in on Tuesdays only long enough to pick up materials, Carter said. A few women, who travel north each summer, take a project with them and then bring it back completed in the fall.
Those women always bring back new ideas, too, White said.
Almost all of the materials are donated, Carter said. Some of the women who work on crafts buy their own materials, but often the church receives donations from parishioners who are moving or whose children are cleaning out their homes. People who sew often have large amounts of extra material, she explained, and that can be turned into a new craft.
Sometimes, Carter said, the women look at donated materials and come up with a new project. Very little is wasted. One popular item each year is dog toys made with materials that can’t be used for anything else. The sturdy knits are cut into strips and then braided together for pull toys. Small pieces of fleece turn into covers for empty water bottles. The covers are reusable. Once a dog has flattened a water bottle, a new one can be inserted into the cover for more noisy fun.
“There’s an enormous amount of talent here,” Carter said.
This year there was an excess of large picture frames, so one of the volunteers added a lightweight back that was painted with chalkboard paint, creating a message center.
The bazaar used to be a two-day event, but in 1997 it was cut back to one day.
As far as anyone can remember, there’s always been food available. In fact, Ann White said — she has helped with the fundraiser since 1992 — it’s always been homemade chili and homemade chicken soup. The accompanying sandwich has changed over the years. This year it will be pulled pork. There’s also a bake sale.
When the bazaar started, Carter said that the “Trinkets and Treasures” room was part of the main sale, but it featured more antiques and collectibles. There are still some collectibles, but not as many, she said. People just don’t collect things like they used to and Trinkets and Treasurers now has its own room because of space. There’s a also a room for purses and jewelry — all gently used.
The crafters — there are about 30 of them — spend most of a week setting up for the bazaar, she said, and they eat lunch together on Friday. There used to be a tradition of setting everything up on one day and then staying for a potluck dinner. She thinks that changed in 1994.
In 1989 the bazaar earned $3,500. This year, the goal is $25,000.
But one thing hasn’t changed — all the profit goes to charity. It’s divided between some church ministries, including one that supports education in India, and local nonprofits such as the Women’s Shelter and the Samaritan Center.
A few of the volunteers pose with their creations at St. Bernard Catholic Church. Behind them is the handmade Christmas quilt that will be raffled. Pictured are Lenore Casey, Annettee Burk, Ronni Moore, Dianne Krolikowski, Joan Long, Joyce Reid and Ginnie Woolsey. About 30 women have met one day a week since March to create the products that will be sold at the church Bazaar on Nov. 4.