For the last quarter century, there has been one sure way to know that the Christmas season is approaching in the Mid- and upvalley: the annual Christmas bazaar at St. John’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield.
This year, the three-day event will take place on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 10-12, at the Parish Center, across Hill Street from the church. It will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
Both the upper and lower levels of the parish center will be used, filled with crafters of all sorts. In addition, the St. John’s gift shop will offer imported gifts from Russia, Greece and the Holy Land, including matryoshka (nesting ) dolls, samovars, amber jewelry, ornaments, olive wood, manger sets, table coverings, pysanky, icons, books and more. The gift shop is located in the lower level near Baba’s Boutique, a shop offering “treasures of years gone by.”
The Petal Pusher Floral and Gift Shop also will have a stand, alongside vendors selling homemade cookies, kolachi, bread, desserts, jewelry, art work, household products, candles, soaps, kielbasa, scarves, wood crafts and more. All in all, you may find more than a few chances to cross some names off your gift list.
The food is a big part of the bazaar. On Friday, the menu includes St. John’s homemade pierogies, halushki (cabbage and noodles), clam chowder, pizza, fish dinners, fish sandwiches, grilled shrimp Caesar salad and spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie).
On Saturday and Sunday, the menu is more extensive, featuring everything in Friday’s menu along with homemade halupki (cabbage rolls), served individually or as part of a dinner, chicken marsala dinners, city chicken dinners, combination dinners (featuring a cabbage roll and one piece of city chicken), gyros, sausage and pepper sandwiches, pork sandwiches, meatball subs, grilled chicken, Caesar salad, soup and other items.
On Sunday, winners will be announced at 3 p.m. for raffle prizes, including a 55-inch TV, a kayak, a drone, an electric train set and more. There will also be a cash raffle and something new this year.
“This year we are adding the ‘passion for purses’ raffle,” said Archpriest John D. Sorochka, who’s been the pastor of St. John’s for the past 47 years.
“This is our 25th annual Christmas bazaar,” Sorochka said. “Parishioners start planning and working for this major fundraiser six months before the actual event occurs. All of the food is homemade. More than 15,000 pierogies are made. This entails much dedication and work on the part of all involved.”
Sorochka explained that the event is the major fundraiser for the parish, not only for day-to-day operations but for the church’s outreach programs.
“It takes many parishioners to organize and run this type of event,” he said. “Thank goodness the cooperation is wonderful. Our parish is a large family that enjoys working together for common goals. It’s a lot of fun.”