Ye Olde Church Bazaar (Jason Freeze, @JasonFreeze)

As summer begins to fade and as school gets going for another year, autumn and all its seasonal events start to approach.  For me autumn is a time when people come back together after a nice, long summer break.  We become thankful for the food we harvest and the family and friends around us.  And really, in a lot of ways, it’s a prelude for the Holiday Season.

For those of you who I scared by mentioning Christmas and the Holiday Season, yes it is coming… along with all of the Christmas oriented events.  I should know, I’m already starting to prepare for one of those events.  And you’ve guessed right, it’s a church bazaar!

I graduated from Brock just over a year ago now and since then I’ve been organizing the Holly Jolly Faire for St. Mark’s Anglican Church.  This will be my second year running the event, but the Faire itself is officially in its 6th year.  Actually, it’s been running a lot longer than that.  Before it was called the Holly Jolly Faire (HJF) it was known as the Christmas Marketplace.  For ages it has been the church’s main fundraising event, which has provided the community with wonderful crafts and more importantly, goodies!

At this point, some of you might be wondering: “Why is a 20-something year old guy running an old church event like that?”  Well first of all, my career aspirations are in the fundraising and event/volunteer management spectrum, but more importantly I enjoy doing it.

Some people say; “OK, so you’re involved with fundraising, but why be involved with a boring old bazaar like that?”  To this I respond by saying that it isn’t boring.  There are so many things that have to be organized and prepared for it to run smoothly.  For a lot of people, its difficult just organizing a meeting with conflicting schedules.  With an event of this nature, I have to organize multiple committee meetings, work with sponsors, create a marketing plan, make sure I have enough volunteers and that they know what they’re doing… you get the picture.

Then they say; “well you’re just one of those crazy people who likes organizing things, but I still think the event is boring.”  For some, this is true.  If you’re not the browsing type, then this isn’t the event for you, and that’s perfectly ok.  Even so, the HJF is not your typical bazaar; it’s a bazaar on steroids!  We’ve included many different activities in hopes of keeping our guests entertained.  On top of the normal (but very good) crafts, knitted wear, and goodies we also have a very large silent auction section, the plinko game, a diner serving lunch and coffee, and a children’s area with crafts and cookies.

There’s another reason why I’m involved with this event and fundraising in general.  It’s the affect it has on the community.  For example, the HJF doesn’t just affect me, but affects our church’s parishioners and the community in general.  It brings our volunteers and members together in fellowship while we create the crafts that will be sold or the food we’ll be serving for lunch.  It engages them to be active and provides everyone with the opportunity to be supportive.  Besides this, it also helps us to raise the money necessary to continue to provide services to the parish and community members through various forms of ministry as well as our outreach.

Speaking of outreach, the HJF will be helping to provide aid and resources to our local community as well.  First of all, it’s a place where the spirit of Christmas begins!  It’s a place where community members can come together in fellowship and festive excitement!  And it’s a place where everyone has the opportunity to give back while they shop.  At the HJF we ask that each person donate a non-perishable food item or $2 which will go directly to Brantford’s Food Bank (CRS).  We also have a mitten tree where people can buy and donate winter wear for the Christmas Basket program.  The HJF also helps to support our local businesses.  Through our various marketing features included in our sponsorship package, we are able to thank and promote local businesses and services.

So the next time you notice there’s another church bazaar coming up, make sure to remember the affect it has on making the community a better place.  The bazaar may not be the most entertaining event, but they help to support local organizations while bringing people together.

This year, the Holly Jolly Faire is on Saturday November 17th from 9-2.  For more details about the event or sponsorship opportunities please send an email to or check out our website at  Hope to see you there!

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