By Clint Kimberling
The holiday season is, of course, a time to think of others who are less fortunate, and this year you can shop for unique handmade gifts while helping a Starkville family in need.
The 11th annual Starkville First United Methodist Church’s Christmas Handworks Bazaar will be held on November 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Christian Life Center. Proceeds from the event will benefit Starkville’s Habitat for Humanity. Starkville FUMC is a covenant partner with Habitat and the proceeds from the Handworks Bazaar contribute a large amount towards their annual pledge. Additionally, Habitat for Humanity is an ongoing major mission project for the church and the congregation regularly contributes enough money for a new house.
Bazaar Chairman Suzanne Dressel remarked, “I’m amazed at what an active, mission-focused church we have. It’s important to do hands-on work and come together for the common cause of helping people.”
Starkville Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Joel Downey is extremely grateful for the partnership and contributions that FUMC makes. He says the church is one of his organization’s strongest supporter.
“They constantly hold events and fundraisers that sponsor Habitat. And every three years or so they fully sponsor a house that is completely paid for. We have a lot of community partners, but they are by far the biggest,” he said.
This year’s bazaar will feature vendors selling handmade items crafted by local artists and artisans. There will be approximately 40 vendors on site including several returning favorites, regulars that have participated since the very first bazaar, and new shops as well.
Sellers at the bazaar fall roughly into five categories: jewelry, art, pottery, food and a miscellaneous section which includes home décor items such as doors signs and monogrammed wreaths. All booths will have an emphasis on local, handmade goods and products. Nothing for sale has been manufactured or mass produced.
Bazaar organizer Kathryn Laughlin says, “It’s a great place to buy unique, one of a kind Christmas presents and decorations. We will have lots of local jewelry designers, hand poured candles, crocheted and sewn items, and woodworkers who sell custom toys, cutting boards, and even rocking horses.” Food vendors will be selling delicious syrups, jams, jellies and salsas. There will be stained glass art including tree ornaments, wind chimes and nativity scenes.
Shoppers can look forward to not only a great assortment of handmade goods but activities and entertainment. The church will be selling lunch that day and will have musical entertainment throughout the day. There will also be a sweet shop featuring homemade baked goods such as brownies, cookies, and cakes all made, of course, by church volunteers.
One of the more popular items for sale will be frozen casseroles made by members of Circle Priscilla. Suzanne Dressel advises, “Get there early. Because people will be standing in line and they always sell out.” She goes on, “The chicken or vegetable casseroles are great for tailgating or to complement any of your holiday meals. And the heavenly sweet potato casserole with praline topping is also a crowd favorite.”