It’s holiday bazaar time, Whidbey!
— Created November 4, 2020 by Kathy Reed
By Alec Brown
It has been a bizarre year, thanks to a worldwide pandemic. Hanging on to some normalcy may be a challenge, but it is possible, as evidenced by those organizations determined to press on with annual holiday bazaars. Some are in person, some are online, but all will hopefully satisfy that yearning for holiday shopping.
St. Augustine Catholic Church: Christmas Bazaar
The St. Augustine Catholic Church is holding a Christmas Bazaar on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The church is located on 185 N. Oak Harbor St., Oak Harbor. The bazaar will be in the classroom wing, using four classrooms and part of the stage.
Bazaar chair Barbara Dumit said there will be a variety of items from which to choose.
“Handmade knitted, crocheted, and sewn items for babies and adults; decorative and holiday craft items made by our parishioners; Grannie’s and Christmas items gently used or regifted; toys, books, puzzles, jewelry, household items and pictures; all items are donated by our parishioners,” she said.
Although it’s an in-person event, the church isn’t taking any chances.
“We decided to have an actual event because of the great number of small items that
were donated,” said Dumit. “In order to comply with all state and county regulations regarding COVID, we are limiting the number of attendees to 25 percent of our capacity for the space being used. We also require masks and have marked the floors with lines six feet apart. We will have only one entrance with a sanitizing station, a designated path for visitors to follow, and a separate exit at the opposite end of the hall.
“We have arranged for easy tracking of purchases within the building to expedite safe checkout and are set up for credit card payments,” she continued. “We have monitors in the rooms and hall, tracking the number of people in each area, assisting as needed, and sanitizing common touch points throughout the hours of operation.”
The event is being put on by volunteers at the parish.
Oak Harbor Lutheran Church: Holiday Bazaar
The Oak Harbor Lutheran Church is putting on a holiday bazaar full of handmade gifts and silent auction items. The bazaar is on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it’s happening at 1253 NW 2nd Ave, Oak Harbor.
Mary Brock, an associate of the church, said they will have “Knitted items, crochet items, sewn items, wood crafted items and a granny’s attic with gently used items.”
When it comes to safety, Brock described how the church isn’t guessing on anything.
“We called Island County health and are following CDC guidelines,” she said. “We will have a sanitization station, providing gloves for those who want to use them; anyone attending will need to wear a mask. Each individual will receive a paper sack to put their items in and we will have the floor marked for what way they will be walking and the floor will also be marked with 6 foot distancing in mind. An in-person event has always been done and we feel with the CDC guidelines we have planned…a safe environment.
“All funds that are raised are never used for ourselves,” Brock continued. “We donate all funds to our church and in the past when most of Oak Harbor was out of power/internet, we opened the church and used funds that we raised to make a spaghetti dinner to anyone who needed a warm place and meal. Most importantly, we will have a staging area to keep them out of inclement weather and masks are required. We have masks/hand sanitizer and gloves.“
St. Augustine’s In-the-Woods: Online Holiday Bazaar
An online holiday bazaar? The St. Augustine’s In-the-Woods church isn’t afraid of diving into this new format. This bazaar will be online from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10. You can pick up your orders at the church— located 5217 S Honeymoon Bay Rd., Freeland.
You can access the bazaar at staugustinesholidaymarket.org. There, you’ll be greeted with a website decorated with the colors of Christmas.
“Every November we have a Holiday Market full of handcraft goods and foodstuffs where proceeds go to local charities,” according to the website. “With the onset of COVID-19, we are trying something new this year by having an online store for our handcraft goods. This way we can still raise money for local charities while keeping our church members and the community safe.”
The church has partnered with two charities – Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse, which provides support to victims of abuse and helps get them on their feet and become self-sufficient. The second charity is Island Senior Resources, which supports seniors with information about aging and disabilities, medical transport, support groups, Meals on Wheels and more.
To purchase local gifts and support local charities, head on to the website any time between Nov. 10 and Dec. 10.
Whidbey Island Small Business Association: Online Holiday Bazaar
The Whidbey Island Small Business Association is also hosting an online holiday bazaar now through Jan 1. You can access the bazaar at facebook.com/groups/wisbaholidayevent/.
Thanks to the online format, the group can reach far beyond just Whidbey Island with its market.
“We currently have more than 20 vendors actively participating and anticipate more will sign up,” said Mallory Panchelli, WISBA operations manager. “The event is hosted on a Facebook events page attached to our primary business page. We have gotten a lot of feedback from other small business owners and have actually opened this Holiday Bazaar to small businesses around the country. We have vendors from Florida, North Carolina, Texas and even Oklahoma. Many of these small business owners are military families who have lived on Whidbey and joined as members. We are still accepting vendors – although we determined the maximum, most effective sales happen with fewer than 50 vendors.”
This bazaar comes after a long line of quarterly events WISBA has held in the past.
“We have been holding quarterly events primarily at the Elks Lodge banquet room for the past five years,” said Marketing Manager Selene Muldowney-Stratton. “This has been very successful; we typically host 20-30 vendors at one time and have 500–1,500 attendees per event. COVID-19 made a significant impact on our business model, much like many other businesses on the Island, but we were determined to continue serving our members and promoting micro and small businesses.
“In order to continue hosting these events we had to reinvent how we could effectively accomplish this,” she continued. “While holding in-person events is traditionally more successful, the current mandates restrict the number of people who can participate. We also want to ensure the safety of everyone involved and instead, opted to pursue an online event. We have been hosting virtual shows since August, having drawn most of our regular members, new local businesses, and now the attention of businesses owners across the country.“
Panchelli hopes hosting the sale online won’t pose too large a barrier for people who aren’t used to technology.
“We haven’t had any technical challenges,” she stated. “Knock on wood, but a challenge that we do foresee is the ability to connect with some of the folks who do not use social media and may be uncomfortable with digital technology. We attract families and many older community members who want to support the smaller businesses while finding a place they can chat and meet up with people. It tends to become a social hour for our older guests.”
“There is something for everyone,” Panchelli concluded. “We host traditional hometown items such as Pampered Chef and Color Street as well as hand crafted items like tumblers, home décor, children’s and adult’s clothing, and so much more.”
Whidbey Island Fairgrounds: Country Christmas at the Fair
Don’t miss out on these fairground goodies at the end of the month!
The annual Country Christmas at the Fair this year is set to take place at the fairgrounds in the Coffman Building, 819 Camano Ave, Langley.
The sale will take place over two weekends: From noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 and Dec. 4; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 28-29 and Dec. 5-6.
There will be quite a selection of items, according to event facilitator Kari Austin.
“There will be locally handcrafted items, holiday and home décor, gift-type items,” she described.
They, too, are prepared for COVID and have made sure the event is safe for everyone.
“We will be implementing social distancing and require masks for entry,” Austin said. “There will be a directional floor plan so shoppers will be able to walk around in one direction and see everything.”
The event is being put on by the Whidbey Island Fair Association as well as volunteers. Those volunteers include board members as well as crafters and vendors from the event.