The focus is on hand-crafted and charity when it comes to the annual Christmas Handworks Bazaar to be held Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Starkville’s First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center at 200 W. Lampkin St. Almost 40 vendors from throughout Mississippi will have handmade items ranging from jewelry and clothing to pottery and artwork.
The festive occasion helps usher in the holiday season but also has a higher purpose — an entire house.
Dr. Giles Lindley, FUMC senior pastor, explained that the church supports the Starkville Habitat for Humanity with proceeds from the bazaar.
“However, every few years, we make Habitat our major mission project for the year, raising the $70,000 needed for a house,” Lindley said. “That endeavor requires the bazaar, our Mission Garage Sale, special donations and funds from our annual missions budget.”
Lindley said that while the labor on Habitat houses is done by people inside and outside the church family, including Habitat workers, Mississippi State University students and Spring Break Mission Teams from other schools, Starkville FUMC feels a special connection to the houses they help fund.
Suzanne Dressel is on the Habitat board and chairs the bazaar.
“First United Methodist Church did build a Habitat house this year, and we have done lots of fundraisers to help pay for that house,” said Dressel. Organizers hope the bazaar will generate enough to make the final payment.
“We will fill up the Christian Life Center with vendors and artists who are bringing art, Christmas decorations, crooked handle spoons and handmade jewelry,” said Pam Hunt, who coordinates vendors for the event that last year attracted about 600 shoppers. “And we’ll have baked goods and homemade frozen casseroles that always go really fast.”
Hours have been extended to 7 p.m. this year to better accommodate the working community.
“All of our craftspeople are from Mississippi — we’ve got some very creative people here,” Hunt said.
The bazaar is popular for its food, as well as its wares.
About 250 frozen casseroles prepared by members of Circle Priscilla, the church’s United Methodist Women’s circle, will be in high demand. Committees are busy making baked goods and other food for the day.
“They just all step up to the plate and provide the time and energy,” praised Dressel.
The Sweet Shoppe and Sandwich Store will serve coffee and snacks throughout the day. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Barbecue plates will be sold from 5-6:30 p.m. Boston butts will also be sold for $30. Advance orders are requested; call the church office, 662-323-5722.
“Come shop with us and have dinner with us,” the chair urged. “This is the first year we’ve done both lunch and dinner. We’re looking for a wonderful turn-out to get a start on holiday shopping and support Habitat for Humanity.”
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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