Once a year Kerrie and I leave the confines of our home and venture out into a territory few ever return from; Lutheran Bazaar territory. We wake, we prepare, and we throw ourselves at the mercy of a mass clamoring for lefse and deals, a group preparing for the Christmas shopping season by joining the mob and purchasing wares.
This is the annual First Lutheran Church Bazaar, a collection of arts, crafts, antiques, and food from the congregation. We go every year for two reasons. First, Kerrie is a former First Lutheran Church employee. She has seen the bazaar from the other side, and knows what to expect – where to go, what to avoid, who to consult.
Second, there was a used book room. We (well, more appropriately, I) have a habit of going to used book sales and buying books that we’ll probably never read. Still, we can’t possibly pass up a chance to buy classics, both ancient and modern, for just $.50-$1.00 a piece. I am always amazed at the books I can find at these book sales – I’ve purchased every Ian McEwan book we own through these means – and a twinge of, dare I say, excitement arises when I get close to the entrance.
It’s quite a site to see. The people that attend the First Lutheran Church Bazaar are dedicated. Kerrie and I arrived to find a line snaking around from the front; a long, winding row of people, each one anxious as to what they’ll find inside. Some come for the food – the lefse is legendary, and for five dollars a package it’s a great fundraiser – and others scour the building for treasures.
Any time you get a group of collectors together, you find manic scrambling. We were some of the first to reach the book room, but we were superceded by a woman that had already filled a box full, grasping at every recognizable title she could find, desperate to get as much as she could.
I can imagine it was the same in every room. Antique dealers attempted to find a valuable bauble before their nearest competitor could snatch it up. Sweet connoisseurs rushed to the candy and baked goods table to collect the best of the food. Even Kerrie and I split up in order to better cover the two book rooms before anyone else had a chance to start blindly throwing books into boxes.
In spite of all this, the First Lutheran Church Bazaar is incredibly efficient. It’s a well-oiled, multi-tentacled machine, serving thousands of people throughout the day by providing information, food, used gifts, and (most of all) something to do. Everyone converges on this spot. It’s a celebration of a culture – a grand display of everything that makes the Lutheran religion what it is – family, history, quilting, potatoes.
Not bad for a Saturday excursion.