The 55th annual Christmas Bazaar was held on Nov. 13 in the town of Elbert, spanning two bustling locations — the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. building and two floors of the Elbert School. As is a …
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The 55th annual Christmas Bazaar was held on Nov. 13 in the town of Elbert, spanning two bustling locations — the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. building and two floors of the Elbert School.
As is a longstanding tradition, only vendors selling handmade products are allowed to set up in the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. building. All other vendors set up up their booths inside the Elbert School gym and the cafeteria.
Elizabeth resident Lorene Thornburg shared her experience as she walked through the rows of vendors. “I am really enjoying the bazaar so far! There are so many things I didn’t expect to see, like an abundance of people selling cinnamon rolls,” she said. “I haven’t purchased anything yet because I’m looking for something to really speak to me.”
Thornburg continued to share her praises for the quality of the event’s vendors. “I moved to Elbert County about a year ago. I’ve also been to a lot of things like this before,” she said. “This is by far the best craft fair that I’ve been to.”
Margie Ashura of the Elbert Woman’s Club served as the vendor organizer for the Elbert Christmas Bazaar.
“We probably had 10 to 12 fewer vendors this year than we did in 2019, but with everyone spread out, the event felt really full,” said Ashura. “It felt very busy and I had good feedback from all the vendors I spoke with.”
She expressed her hopes for the 2022 Elbert Christmas Bazaar. “I think we can make the event even better next year if we can get some more volunteers and more Elbert Woman’s Club members.”
One of the many vendors crammed into the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. building was Country Crafts by Jodi, a Rush-based artisan of handmade soaps, lotions and custom knitting, sewing and quilting. Jodi Durham was accompanied by her nephew, Jordon Graninger, who acted as her sales helper for the event.
“We’ve been coming here for five years now,” said Durham. “We keep coming back every year because this community is so friendly. The people here are just so nice!”
Robert Thomasson of Elbert, a local photographer, was also at the Elbert Christmas Bazaar selling some of his back inventory. Thomasson is a longtime attendee of the event, having sold various things over the course of a decade and a half.
Thomasson enthusiastically explained some of his photographs, describing the techniques used for night photography. “Every photo has a story,” said Thomasson. “I use various techniques to create long-exposure photographs that highlight the beauty of the night sky. It takes about three full minutes to actually take the picture!”
The Elbert Woman’s Club’s handmade apple dumplings were a highlight of the bazaar, as they are every year. Members of the Elbert Woman’s Club sold frozen and hot-and-ready apple dumplings at the two event locations for $5.
“We sold all the apple dumplings this year!” said Ashura. “Our treasurer is still calculating the numbers for our profit this year.”
All proceeds from the sale of the apple dumplings are going toward the upkeep and renovation of the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. Building, the central community hub for the town of Elbert.
The Elbert Woman’s Club plans to hold the bazaar next year and for the foreseeable future. Of course, their famous handmade apple dumplings will be there too.
To join the Elbert Woman’s Club or to volunteer for next year’s Elbert Christmas Bazaar, contact the group through its community Facebook page at tinyurl.com/ElbertWClub.
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