Local Church Community Puts on Bazaar

An annual tradition running over 40 years returns

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Photo by Winter Huffernan

A wide array of crafts and gifts were sold at the bazaar

Chapel Heights United Methodist Church hosted their annual “Holiday Bazaar” last Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The bazaar offered handmade crafts, gift baskets, a lunch, a “trash to treasures” section, a bake sale and Christmas fruitcakes.

Becky Weible, the head of the missions board who is primarily involved with the kitchen, said, “One of our famous things is our fruitcakes – that’s a big thing for our church.”

The fruitcakes take the congregation about three days to make, Weible said.  On the first day, they cut up and weigh all the dates and fruit needed. During the second day the ingredients are mixed up and the cakes are baked. The third day is used to glaze and label the fruitcakes.

According to Char Goodman, who calls herself the “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,” 262 fruitcakes were baked this year.

Pastor Cheri Miskimen, who calls herself the “cheerleader” of the event, said, “It’s not the typical fruitcake. Most people your age or the generation above you think of a fruitcake and wanna go ‘eww.’ These are different.” 

The congregation also hosts craft classes weeks in advance to create crafts to be sold at the Bazaar, Weible said. 

“People come out of the woodwork,” Weible said. “Even if we didn’t make a dime, the fellowship of being able to work together especially seems more precious after covid, after we couldn’t. A lot of our congregation are older people and they need that fellowship.”

Weible said this year was dedicated to Karol Machmeier, a member of their congregation that recently passed away. Machmeier used to make item baskets to sell at the bazaar.

“She was really artistic. She would do arrangements of flowers and bring those in,” Weible said, “Her baskets are beautiful and brought in a lot of money. Some people actually came just to see Karol’s baskets.”

Weible said that one of Machmeier’s passions was the Chippewa Valley Street Ministry. All the proceeds from the dinner and gift baskets this year will go to that program in her name. 

Typically, the money from the dinner and food goes towards the church’s mission’s team while all other funds are used for things that the church needs, Goodman said.

The event has been running for at least 40 years, Miskimen said. This predates her role as pastor.

The first year Miskimen was the pastor at the congregation, she dressed up as a clown to be a greeter; she even did a voice. Someone who had a phobia of clowns attended the event and got scared. Feeling bad, she put the clown “on vacation” from further events.

“They are such awesome people, and I marvel at the volunteer hours,” Miskimen said. “Hours and hours. It’s all donated time, and the majority of it goes to missions. It’s just like, how many people would work that hard and that long for nothing?”

Miskimen said that the church will also be hosting an international fall dinner in November for foreign students in which they serve a Thanksgiving meal. This event had been postponed a few years because of COVID-19, so the congregation is unsure what the turnout will be like.

Heffernan can be reached at [email protected]