If you have never been to The Holmstad's annual bazaar, this is the year to go, as it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
The retirement community's 40th bazaar, "Creative Gifts and More," takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, in the community's Town Center at 700 W. Fabyan Parkway, Batavia. Enter at the Town Center entrance on the east side of the campus.
The Holmstad Residents Association works all year on putting the bazaar together.
"I start knitting right away after the bazaar is over, so I knit all year for it," said Wilma Van Arragon. "This year, I'll have over 35 items in the boutique I set up."
Van Arragon knits shawls, hats and scarves. This year she adds a caplet, and poncho.
Why does she do it?
"My husband and I moved to the Holmstad when he began showing signs of having a cognitive impairment. It was a wonderful move for us because we were so embraced by this community," said Van Arragon. "Now he is gone, but I continue to be cared for by this community. It's my way of giving back. I love living here."
For Van Arragon, knitting for the bazaar is a win-win situation.
"I love yarns and textiles," said Van Arragon. "I get to play with beautiful yarns, and the bazaar gets to make money."
Van Arragon isn't the only one putting in countless hours for the bazaar. Bruce Larson has been busy collecting items for the "This and That" area.
"We collect gently used items that the residents donate, like dishes, cookware, and collectibles," Larson said. "Each piece is carefully checked and cleaned by our committee members."
Larson is a past chairman of the bazaar. He estimates more than 1,000 people come each year from across the Chicago area.
This year's chairman, Dave Anderson, is quick to point out that the bazaar involves over 200 residents who volunteer in the 16 shops.
Shoppers always rush to pick up the delicious cardamom bread in the artisan bakery, as well as cakes, cookies and pies. A special candy shop is filled with fudge, chocolates and other sweet treats. Those who are looking for beads to create their own necklaces and bracelets will enjoy the jewelry department where fine jewelry is reasonably priced.
Anderson doubles as a woodworker and says this year has some exciting surprises.
"Artist Lupe Cervantes has joined with the woodworkers to paint some hand-carved tulips that are beautiful," he said.
Glass fusion pieces, needlecraft, a quilt raffle and handmade items including Christmas cards and fairy garden houses can be found at this bazaar. Shoppers also have the opportunity to purchase new items at the Holmstad's gift shop and gently used furniture from the
Holmstad's Home Store.
Take the time to stop for lunch and sample the Holmstad's culinary offerings. No need to make a reservation.
All of the proceeds from the bazaar go to the scholarship fund for graduating high school seniors employed by The Holmstad; the Good Samaritan Fund and the Benevolent Fund to assist financially challenged residents; the Batavia Public Library; the Batavia Fire Department, and other local endeavors.
Anderson pointed out that the Holmstad bazaar isn't just about the charitable contributions.
"It's also about coming together as a community," he said "and to have the opportunity for a greater purpose."