Hundreds of community members and visitors alike look forward each year to the Parish of St. Ann’s Bazaar, which is celebrating its 37th year in 2017.
The bazaar will be held this weekend, with its traditional premier night on Thursday, Aug. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. With a $5 donation, attendees that night can get first dibs on the thousands of items for sale — from toys to housewares, small appliances to furniture.
The bazaar has no admission charge during its hours on Friday, Aug. 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Those who attend can also purchase barbecue donated by Bethany Blues and baked goods made by the church’s own parishioners.
This year, the bazaar is being chaired by parishioner Alexis Sclama, who moved to the area from Baltimore after retirement. Sclama has previously organized fundraisers for various organizations, including schools and hospitals.
“Being a Catholic, I joined the parish, read the bulletin and saw the Bazaar,” said Sclama of getting involved in the event. “I did go three years ago, and my daughter said, ‘Oh, mom — I could see you getting involved in this.’ She wasn’t too far off.”
The parish begins planning for the annual bazaar even before the prior year’s sale is concluded.
“The committee is just over 100 people, so it’s a huge, committed endeavor.”
The sale is used as a fundraising endeavor for the parish and its sister church, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“The funds vary from year-to-year, based on the needs of the church. This year’s funds will go to roofing needs and parking lot repairs and improvements,” Sclama said. “And also the parish is generous with the needs of the community.”
Along with the sale of items, the bazaar will also be selling raffle tickets for three $500 cash prizes, which will be drawn on Saturday, Aug. 5, at noon. The drawing in the bazaar’s annual quilt raffle will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 11:30 a.m.
This year’s queen-sized quilt, themed “Flowers of U.S.A.,” was designed and sewn by St. Ann quilters. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased for $2 each or $5 for three tickets.
“It’s absolutely beautiful. They’re extraordinary, they really are,” Sclama said of the quilt. “The quilt brings in a lot of money, too.”
There will also be a silent auction and a “you-pick-it raffle” of new or gently-used items.
“It’s similar to a ‘Chinese auction.’ You’ll buy a string of raffle tickets, and you put your raffle ticket in whatever item you want.”
Sclama thanked the bazaar’s sponsors for their support, including Melson’s Funeral Home, Holly Kia, Vickie York at the Beach Realty, Bethany Diner, Bethany Blues and Coastal Services.
“It’s a three-day event. You open the doors, in comes the crowds, and we sell just about everything.”
In the past, some unique items donated for the sale have included a sailboat, kayak, cars and a week at vacation homes.
“Oh, my gosh — millions!” said Sclama of the number of donations the church receives. “I don’t think that’s an exaggeration! There are so many we would go broke with price tags, so we use masking tape.”
Even with the massive number of items, she said, the items are reasonably priced and of good quality.
“Prices are really, really reasonable. We want to fulfill the need and move everything,” she said. “We only want to sell quality goods. If it’s broken, damaged or questionable, in any way, we will pass the item on to another donation center.”
For instance, in the book room, attendees can snag their favorite hardbacks for $1, or paperbacks for 50 cents or three for $1.
“Prices are really, really reasonable. The goal is to fill the need and move the merchandise.”
Extra care is taken of all items donated. If there are linens that need to be stitched or laundered, the parishioners will stich and launder them. Every donated puzzle is completed, to ensure the church does not sell one that is incomplete. All electronics are tested as to not sell something that doesn’t work.
The church also receives a substantial number of jewelry donations — which is one reason many shoppers have for attending the bazaar.
“During the sale, this room gets packed. They keep somebody at the door and only let about 20 people in at a time,” she said. “If something looks like it’s gold or sterling silver, or a gem, we’ll set it aside and take it to a local jeweler to get appraised.”
Sclama said she already has “grandiose plans” for the 38th annual bazaar next year and hopes people will continue to support the church by attending.
“I’m really excited about this bazaar,” she said. “I hope for beautiful weather, and I hope for wonderful results!”
St. Ann’s Catholic Church is located at 691 Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach.