TERAJI: Gilroy gears up for a grand bazaar time

Bazaar Czarina Barbara Gailey helping a young patron at the

‘Twas the night before the bazaar and all through the town, not
a creature was stirring
– except one tiny mouse on a sugar plum search.
A quiet little mouse scampering about the nooks and crannies of
Gilroy at all hours gets to see more than just the usual everyday
happenings. If you could join me on this mouse ride-along, you
would see Santa’s elves toiling away at this very moment behind the
scenes.
‘Twas the night before the bazaar and all through the town, not a creature was stirring – except one tiny mouse on a sugar plum search.

A quiet little mouse scampering about the nooks and crannies of Gilroy at all hours gets to see more than just the usual everyday happenings. If you could join me on this mouse ride-along, you would see Santa’s elves toiling away at this very moment behind the scenes.

Once again it’s holiday craft festival time, and the unusual Christmas Bazaar – held at the United Methodist Church of Gilroy at 7600 Church St. – has the historical distinction of being one of the longest, continuously running bazaars in our fair city. While it is the case that there are other holiday bazaars in Gilroy, I discovered in my survey of them that most of them no longer feature homemade and handcrafted items, and sell goods that have mainly been manufactured.

Since 1933, the local community has come together to quilt, sew, embroider, decorate, cook, bake, can, pickle, play, pot, mix, fudge, bottle, preserve, paint, macrame, knit, glue, crochet, chutney and jam.

Even though she moved away from Gilroy many years ago, Mary Ernest still annually sends a box of handmade baby blankets, lap robes, tablecloths and aprons from Poplar, Mo.

Quilter extraordinaire, Marilyn Schlesinger, is in her 12th year of creating a quilt which she donates for some lucky bazaar guest to win. Tickets are sold for the opportunity, and a recipient will be drawn at the end.

You do not have to be present in order to win. Schlesinger’s reversible quilts are always first-rate, and this year’s edition is stunning in autumn leaf colors. Claudia Salewske, retired San Jose State English professor and local historian, has chutneys and jams that are always a hit. Her wares were described to me by those who bought them last year as “pretty darn tasty.”

One of the most popular parts of the bazaar is the soup luncheon, and the $5 price has not gone up in years. The homemade chowder and soup varieties of white bean, French onion, vegetarian, butternut squash and albondigas – made by Nancy Headley – are local favorites. Young girls from the community waitress at the luncheon. They share all tips equally.

A popular addition to the bazaar last year will also be featured again: substitute teacher Janice Krahenbuhl has added a crafts table where children can make their own ornaments to give as Christmas gifts.

Andoni Bundros, local music teacher and son of Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education Trustee Tom Bundros, will be entertaining visitors with Christmas carols on the piano.

Barbara Gailey, also known as the “Bazaar Czarina,” is a former Glen View Elementary School teacher who does the complex job of organizing and coordinating all aspects of the event. This year she made a miraculous comeback after almost dying from heart-valve replacement surgery. She has spent many hours during her recovery hand-embroidering beautiful pillow cases to sell.

It takes the cooperation of young and old behind the scenes to make this holiday dream come true, but it just goes to show what is possible when so many different people bring their talents together. Proceeds go to benefit women and children causes in our own back yard, such as providing warm winter jackets and food for the most at-risk children living at Rodriquez Migrant Camp in Gilroy.

This year’s bazaar culminates in a solo piano performance by recording artist John Nilsen, known for his original instrumentals of jazz, classical, folk and rock music.

He has added a one-stop performance in Gilroy to his latest Northern California tour. There is a suggested donation of $10 for the performance.

Christmas Bazaar

– Starts at 8:30 a.m. until the goodies run out Saturday at the United Methodist Church of Gilroy located at 7600 Church St.

– Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $5.

– The John Nilsen concert begins at 7 p.m.

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