In the run-up to the holiday season, local organizations proved the old adage that “great minds think alike” by hosting similar events on the same day. Residents shopping for crafts or baked goods over the weekend faced a truly dazzling array of choices.
Sales typically began at 10 a.m., as was the case at St. David’s Anglican Church, where the Tuesday Ladies’ Club (TLC) organized the 18th annual Cookie Walk. Guests brought their own pails and moved down a buffet-style platter selecting their preferred cookies.
“We usually always have it the first Saturday in December,” TLC president Janet Carrier said. “People go through the buffet line and they can choose their own cookies, and we sell them by the pound. We sell them (at) $6 a pound, and so usually an ice cream pail full is about $20.”
All money raised at the Cookie Walk will go towards purchasing items for the church. Any leftover cookies are packed up and given out at church events.
On the other side of town, St. Michael Parish held its own Christmas Craft & Gift Fair for the first time to create closer ties among the local community and introduce more people to the church.
Aside from a raffle, bake table and assorted handicrafts, the event offered a Children’s Story Corner to entertain younger guests.
It also marked the debut of a special shop selling religious merchandise, to remain at the church all-year-round.
“We’re starting a new little religious store down here … because there’s not really a whole lot of places to buy religious items,” St. Michael’s finance council chair Jackie Packet said. “So we decided we’ll start with the Christmas fair and then we’ll have things available for people when they want to come during the week.”
One of the groups that stood to gain from sales at the fair was the wrestling club at St. Mary High School, which had a special stand selling candy cane reindeer, candy mugs and “monster cookies” layered with an assortment of treats.
Meanwhile, at Vincent Massey Community Public School, a group of Pathfinders hosted a craft and bake sale to raise money for maintenance of the Prince Albert Girl Guide Hall.
Vendors paid a $25 fee to the girls in order to secure spots at the sale, helping to supplement revenue from the Pathfinders’ cookie sales.
“It’s all going to our Girl Guide Hall in P.A. for bills and our electricity and all that kind of stuff,” Brownie leader Lindsy Gyoerick said.
Not all Saturday’s craft and bake sales were motivated by fundraising considerations. The Carmen Court seniors’ complex held a Christmas bake/craft sale where residents simply sold any goods they felt like selling and kept the proceeds.
Wares on display accordingly embodied many of the residents’ individual talents, such as embroidery, hand-drawn artwork and baked goods. The sale also featured a 50/50 draw and 13 door prizes.
The remainder of Saturday’s craft and bake sales had concrete fundraising requirements they hoped to address. King George Community Public School held its fifth annual Classic Christmas Craft Sale from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. as a means of acquiring extra revenue for field trips and the like.
Teachers and staff helped out with running the sale, which featured a mix of new and returning vendors. One first-time vendor was Mary Ann Harmatiuk, offering a selection of baked goods and handicrafts.
“The sales are actually excellent today,” Harmatiuk said. “I do a lot of baking and I made all this baking fresh, and it seems once you get your customers they just keep coming back.”
The canteen’s generous provision of food and drink made it highly popular with vendors.
“The people that organized this, it’s simply unbelievably nice,” Harmatiuk said. “We have free tea, we have free coffee all day long. I mean, they accommodate you the best they can (and) they do donate something for the school, which is a good cause.”
At the Church of the Nazarene, the Women of Faith group held its annual Christmas craft and bake sale to raise money for the women’s account, where funds go towards distinguished service awards, charities such as Children’s Haven and ladies’ events throughout the year.
The most significant destinations for funds are the Nazarene Church’s various outreach ministries, which offer medical and financial assistance to people in different countries.
But the church also requires money for its Building Fund, which is seeking to build a new, more accessible facility.
The sales are actually excellent today ... it seems once you get your customers they just keep coming back. - Mary Ann Harmatiuk
“We need a new church,” Women of Faith director Lynn Rustulka said. “Our church here is too small, and the foundation is starting to go. So we are wanting to raise money so we can raise a new church and have room.
“This is not a very good handicapped building, because we do have people who are in wheelchairs or who have a hard time going up and down stairs, and so we want to make it accessible for them as well.”
Bookending the day was the Christmas trade show and sale at Rivier Academy, organized by music teacher Lauren Campbell for the second year in a row.
Similar to St. David’s Cookie Walk, the Rivier event featured a Bake Walk in which patrons started at one end with a pail and walked to the other end collecting baked goods as they walked by. At the end, students weighed the baking and subtracted the weight of the pail.
The main goal of the event was to raise money to send music students to attend a choir clinic in March with Finnish group Rajaton.
“Last year we did this trade show and it was to send our choir to perform at Telemiracle and to give a donation to Telemiracle,” Campbell said. “This year it’s for the Choral Clinic in Saskatoon. But also there’s always costs associated with running a music program, like print music, accompanist fees, music festival registrations, stuff like that.”
The 2012 sale at Rivier featured more live entertainment than the previous year as music students showed off their talents. The choir sang Christmas songs for an hour, while other student musicians played their respective instruments.
The effort certainly seemed to impress vendors and guests.
“This is actually quite a good show,” vendor Kaela Knoke said while selling her line of handmade jewelry. “I was very impressed with the number of people going through and the advertising, and the other vendors are great.”
Event organizers were likewise satisfied with the turnout.
“Thanks to everybody for coming out and supporting it,” Campbell said. “You can’t run this alone, and it takes the support of the community to help the music program flourish.”