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TOWNSEND — It has become a yearly tradition that is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

For one day every September, just after Labor Day, St. John the Evangelist Church takes over the Townsend Common for its annual Holiday Bazaar, the church’s single largest fund-raising event.

There will be arts and crafts tables, food, live music, raffles, and fun and games for all ages a little something for everyone. Donna Miller and the rest of the volunteers who help put the event together every year find joy in being able to provide so much fun and excitement for families while also helping the church’s bottom line.

All the money collected will go to the church’s expense account, to be drawn upon for as needed throughout the year.

“It’s for necessities, if a pipe broke or whatever,” Miller explained. “We really depend on it being a successful day (and) it usually is. Believe me, it gets used every year.”

While there will be some outside vendors there — “usually 12 or so that come in” — most of the items for sale will be created by members of the congregation, many of whom will be running tables during the event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6. In the event of rain, the event will be shortened from noon to 4 p.m. the next day, Sunday, Sept. 7. Mass on the common will begin once the bazaar ends, which is also a yearly tradition.

Several prizes have already been secured for the raffles, and raffle tickets are presently available for purchase at McNabb Pharmacy, the church itself, or through any of the volunteers running the event, Miller included. Among the big-ticket items are a bicycle and a Nintendo Wii, along with donations from The Settle Shop and other local businesses.

The church and all the volunteers send their heartfelt thanks to all who donated items for the raffles.

The bazaar tradition was started in the ’50s by the late Rev. Elias Mealy, for whom the hall behind the church is named, and began as a way to fund the construction of the current church. Now, nearly a half-century later, it is a thriving tradition thanks to the tireless work of all the volunteers who make it possible.

“It’s a combined effort with our whole church,” Miller said. “Everybody is just so good and so helpful. That’s what makes it so successful.”

For the younger crowd, there are several activities planned including a scavenger hunt that will provide children with a little bit of history about the common and some other bits of Townsend lore.

“It’s really nice; kids can have a great time,” Miller said. “It’s a nice way to spend a Saturday; just a fun-filled day for a family. Bring your chair and spend the day.”

For more information about the bazaar, contact St. John the Evangelist at (978) 597-2291.

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