Although they had 100 pounds of apples to peel, core, cut and make into pies, no one seemed daunted by the hours of work ahead of them.
The sound of talk and laughter filled the hall and kitchen at St. Joseph’s Catholic church. Members of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) gathered to make pies for their fall bazaar.
“I don’t know any other event where everyone works together this much,” said Linda Painchaud. “It’s a celebration, a good time.”
“It’s a lot of work,” said Linda Faust. “A lot of ladies step up to help. It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year.”
Many of the funds go back into to community, including scholarships, the food bank and the local women’s shelter.
This fundraiser has not only grown over its 40-plus years, but has also become somewhat of a community tradition, being for many their ‘official end of summer and beginning of fall’ ritual, said Painchaud.
“We carry on a fall celebration, a recognition of a good harvest.”
There will be all kinds of garden produce for sale at the bazaar, ‘baking of all descriptions,’ handcrafted items, silent auctions, raffle items and, the most popular part of all, the tea.
“There’s lots of tea, sandwiches and dainties,” said Faust.
Everything is decorated to celebrate the fall season. Every guest is served a plate of sandwiches, baked treats, endless cups of tea or coffee and plenty of conversation. It doesn’t matter if you come with a group of friends, or bring the grandchildren or come by yourself, or if you’re just new to the city and don’t know anyone because it’s easy to join in the conversation. It’s the kind of place where people expect you to join their table when you sit down; that’s the tradition of Harvest Tea & Bazaar.
Painchaud said it’s events like this that celebrate community and bring people together that make Salmon Arm such a wonderful place to live.
“I just got back from Vancouver, visiting my daughter. The high-rises there are 30 floors. People get in their cars or use the rapid transit. Neighbours don’t talk to each other, there’s no community. When you come to the bazaar or fall fair and everything is positive, you feel that sense of connection.”
“I’ve talked to people who have told me they’ve been here three years and have yet to meet an angry person,” said Faust. “It’s quite nice to hear that.”
Both ladies said their favourite part of the bazaar is watching everyone relax and enjoy each other’s company. Behind the scenes, the CWL members are busy in the kitchen or at the various raffle and craft tables.
Faust explained people can pay the $5 charge for the tea and treats, or simply walk around to buy crafts, produce, baked treats, or raffle tickets. The ladies confessed their trick of selling their apple pies.
“We bake a couple so people can smell it when they come in,” said Faust.
The Harvest Tea & Bazaar takes place at St. Joseph’s parish hall, 90 St. S.E., Saturday, Sept. 28, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Use the door off the parking lot with the sign, Hall Entrance.