The Parish of St. Ann’s in Bethany Beach is renowned for their summer bazaar, and this year, there doesn’t look to be any disappointment for those who look forward to the event each year.
It is set to be held at the church and neighboring Masterson Center building on Aug. 2, 3 and 4. Shoppers can be sure to find everything from hand-made articles, books and jewelry to painted woodcrafts, children’s toys and games, linens, kitchen supplies and Christmas decorations, and can even take part in the silent auction featuring local artwork.
However, there’s one item in particular that has earned a little more credit and recognition than the rest. For the fourth summer in a row, four ladies have brought their creativity and talent together to create a themed, hand-embroidered quilt, which will be raffled off on Saturday, Aug. 4.
“Treasures of the Sea” is this year’s theme for the one-of a kind, 86-by-100-inch, queen-sized quilt. Each of the 30 squares shares a different wonder of the ocean, and filling every one was no easy task. “We started back in September and finished around March,” noted Betty Keeley, one of the four original designers of the quilt.
“It can be someone’s for only $2,” said Mary Martinez, who helped originate the idea for the quilting fundraiser in 2004, where the featured piece at the bazaar depicted presidential profiles. Working with quilting fundraisers in a different parish, she brought the idea to the church, and it turned out to be a huge success.
In 2005, the theme was lighthouses, and last year, seashells. At such a low price, one would think an impressive profit would be hard to come by, but the quilt raffle brought in roughly $2,000 alone last year.
Many members of the congregation donate their time to hand-stitch each individual square. “We have had a lot of help from many wonderful people,” said Martinez. “Everyone is really supportive. It’s really nice to have that in the church.”
Ideas for “Treasures of the Sea” sprouted from nautical, educational and even coloring books. Much of the color and creative aspects are attributed to Fil Ryan, a third designer of the quilt. Kathleen Daly is the fourth originator of the joint-effort raffle and also a member of the congregation.
“It’s a lot of fun to see it come together,” said Keeley. “It truly is a group effort.”
“All of the other women who helped will come up and point out which square they’ve made,” added Martinez. “It’s great to see how much pride people take in their work.”
Over the past few years, the bazaar has begun on Thursday evening, helping to accommodate the tremendous crowd that shows up that weekend. On Thursday, Aug. 2, it will run from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.; then from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3; and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. Altogether, between sales, auction and raffles, the church managed to raise $70,000 at last year’s bazaar.
“The turnout is always very good,” said St. Ann’s member Pat Duchesne, who coordinates the bazaar each year. “Some people schedule their whole summer around this. We tie up traffic on Route 26, but it’s always a lot of fun.”
Raffle tickets for the quilt can be purchased during the bazaar and at the Masterson Center, located at the corner of Garfield Parkway and Evans Avenue, just a half-mile west of Route 1.