|Posted by Anne Siren on November 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM|
Make St. Gabriel’s Fair the first stop tomorrow and get that happy holiday feeling. Shoppers will find mouth-watering homemade bakery goods, Christmas crafts, ornaments, small trimmed trees, wreaths and white elephant bargains galore.
“We price very low so that everyone can take away wonderful gift items and everything Christmas,” says Gilda Riley, chairman of the event. “We’ll be here at 731 N. Ocean Blvd. in Pompano Beach from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 to 1 p.m. on Sunday.”
The Christmas Fair is sponsored by the Council of Catholic Women of St. Gabriel.
No vendors allowed. “It’s amazing what colorful and varied collections of merchandise just a handful of dedicated volunteers put together,” says Georgette Meikle, council president. “I’m a snowbird, but the rest of our group of active volunteers will prepare for next year soon after this year’s event.”
Riley nods her head in agreement and with a wide smiles says, “Bloomingdale’s and Sak’s Fifth Ave. have nothing on us.
Andy Buglione, an honorary member of the women’s group, works as hard as the ladies. Riley says, “Andy and I love to shop the yard sales. We do it every Saturday seeking big values and donations which we bring back to the parish hall.
“The items are cleaned and repaired for sale at our Christmas event. We also accept donations from parishioners, neighborhood people and stores going out of business or getting rid of overstock.”
She holds up a painting, saying, “This framed artwork is tagged $25. We’ll price it at $3. This Burdine’s Christmas stocking was $25. We’ll tag it $4.”
This year we have some fabulous items donated from estates. One original oil, valued at $500 will be sold for $100. We price low to attract all shoppers. Many of our new items were priced much higher in the stores. Nothing is wasted. If it’s not sold at the fair, we donate it to St. Vincent De Paul thrift store.” The dedicated ladies hope to raise $6,500. Riley says, “We raised $5,500 last year. This year will be better because of the donations from several estates. The collectables will be raffled off. Shoppers will be delighted with the selection of jewelry, books, toys, hand made Christmas crafts, ornaments, trees and wreaths, and many white elephant items.”
President Meikle says, “The monies we raise in this and our other fund raisers go to support the Burse Fund, Scholarship Fund, Madonna Plan, Help a Child, Water for Life, Food for the Poor & Cross International, Covenant House, Chastity Days, America Moms for Soldiers, Holiday Mail for Heroes, and Lobby Days at the Capitol.”
She adds, “We have 69 members, but just eight hard workers for this event which is a very big challenge for our aging group. We urgently need young people to step up to the plate. Every year Gilda says, ‘This is my last year.’
“We have events from December through March when our snowbirds double our population. They don’t just go to Mass; they’re hard workers for our Christmas Dinner-Dance, February Fashion Show and the St. Patrick’s Dinner and Dance with the Men’s Club.”
Chairman Riley has been involved in this Christmas Fair for 15 years because, she says, “It keeps me busy. I forget my own problems. My committee and I are here every Tuesday and Thursday receiving merchandise. We couldn’t stage this affair without Andy and the volunteers from the Men’s Club. They set us up and make it happen.”
The Christmas Fair volunteers include, Georgette Meikle, Gilda Riley, Barbara Freeman and Jackie Draskins. Lorraine Ficaro and Lisa Rombkowski make all of the Christmas trees and wreaths. Arts and crafts volunteers are Claire Mitchell, Rose Manni and Margaret Barrosse who makes the ornaments.
Riley adds that Andy has worked for this fair and other events for St. Gabriel for the past 35 years.”
Barbara and Georgia admit that they often leave with more than they brought in. “We’re our own best customers,” Barbara smiles and adds, “You know one man’s junk is the next man’s treasure.”
The bake table, filled with homemade goodies sells out fast, but shoppers need not be discouraged because freshly-made treats arrive every hour of the event. Every club member is asked to bake something. Barbara specializes in spice muffins as does Riley. Georgia says, “I do breads and candies.” Andy grins and says, “I buy it and eat it.”
Barbara Freeman, active in the club for the past three years, says, “ I love it and encourage others to join us and make time to help. Like me volunteers get a great sense of contributing to the parish. I have gained great friendships.”
Georgette Meikle, serving her second year as president of the Council, says, “I’m a snowbird from Maine. We’re here for six months, and during our stay I enjoy volunteering and the sense of belonging. It’s a pleasure to be active in my church and give meaning to my winters in Florida.”
Thank you hard working volunteers from St. Gabriel for all that you do in both your parish and in the world around you.