Skip Smith says the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church’s annual Christmas Bazaar has been going “well over 50 years!”
No one at the event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 19, that Senior Warden Stan Schofield said “surprisingly raised a record amount of money,” was really sure just when St. Barnabas began.
History has it that St. Barnabas Church was founded in 1883.
Smith, a former Warwick employee whose knowledge of Apponaug and the city is priceless, remembers the days when Jan Head – who was an attorney and widow of the late and legendary sports fishing aficionado Daniel Head – chaired the annual bazaar.
Likewise, Joe Rodriguez, the Junior Warden at St. Barnabas, recalls those glorious days.
“When the bazaar rolled around, Jan Head swung into action and got things going,” Rodriquez said during a reminiscing reunion with people like Smith Saturday afternoon. “She was incredible … Jan Head chaired this bazaar for years and years … and never needed any notes. When it was time, she just pulled everyone and everything together.”
This time around, Heidi Seddon, treasurer at St. Barnabas, assumed the role as overall chairperson and did what Schofield, Rodriguez and others called “a great, great job, considering there are no records.”
But perhaps Rev. John Pallard, rector at St. Barnabas, best described the newest installment of the Christmas Bazaar.
“This was again a wonderful event for people to come together and help our parish as we approach the Christmas season,” Father Pallard said. “We really appreciate the tremendous support we received from the community. The bazaar was a united effort of family, friends and parishioners.”
The annual St. Barnabas Bazaar also offered many items and once the daylong festivities were complete, several interesting stories surfaced.
One, in particular, centered around a raffle for two exclusive box seats to the New England Patriots-Kansas City Chiefs game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass on Monday, Nov. 21.
The tickets were donated to St. Barnabas – exclusively for the Christmas Bazaar – by parishioners Jim and Erma Turner who own and operate EW Gardiner Golf Carts.
“The tickets were a hot item and for us a huge success,” said Bonne Simonian, who manned the special raffle booth with Kathy Richardson. “I guess there are a lot of [New England] Patriots fans around here.”
So many, in fact, Seddon, Schofield and Rodriguez got requests to continue the raffle until Sunday morning and hold the drawing after the 8 and 10 a.m. masses, simply because more people wanted to enter.
“The tickets were an unexpected gift,” Schofield said. “They provided a huge lift in our end result!”
The winner’s name was not available at press time, but as Schofield noted: “They saw a great football game and the Pats win.”
Meanwhile, this year’s St. Barnabas Bazaar could have easily been entitled “From Football to Fudge.”
The bazaar also featured a caloric caper, a.k.a. a Fudge Booth manned by Michael Lombari and Marion Menzies. There were, of course, the Patriots tickets and a rather unique handcraft counter that was produced by a special knitting class held weekly at St. Barnabas.
“All these items came from our Wednesday night knitting class,” said BJ Lynch, who manned the counter with Carol Garveline. “Everything you see here is the result of that class.”
The bazaar also featured two White Elephant rooms, baked goods that were all donated by a host of parishioners, a penny social featuring a myriad of prizes, a raffle featuring 20 specialty baskets and a separate raffle for a 32-inch television.
There was also a box of popcorn for a dollar and a convenient cafeteria, which featured everything from cold non-alcoholic beverages to meatball sandwiches and, as people like Smith and Rodriguez said, “Lots of memories about St. Barnabas through the years and Apponaug, in general.”