by: RITA A. LEONARD - Lewis Elementary students Corbin (age 9) and Maddox (age 7) Leaver sold birds nest ornaments made from Northwest materials at the Lewis Bazaar. Their grandma, Katie Maltais, said they had picked out the moss and sticks while hiking, and painted small round rocks for the eggs in the nests. In spite of well-below-freezing temperatures, shoppers flocked to the separate Holiday Bazaars held at Grout and Lewis Elementary Schools on Saturday, December 7.

Both raised funds to assist with school programs. Profits from Grout were dedicated for the fifth grade trip to Camp Kiwanalong. Income from the Lewis Holiday Bazaar and Tree Sale was split between Math and Reading programs, Science Camp for fifth graders, and support for the Garden Teacher position.

Grout PTA President Valerie Thompson told THE BEE that this year they’d tried something new. In addition to the 41 vendors on-site, there was a raffle of decorated Christmas trees and packages donated by local businesses and families. A steady crowd of shoppers circled among vendors in the halls and cafeteria – to purchase baked and handcrafted items that included jewelry, photos, stationery, outfits for pooches, hats, refrigerator magnets, and the like.

Candy maker Oliver Hutchins met visitors at the east door with a display of “12 Kinds of Fudge”. He had fresh samples flavored with peppermint, hot buttered rum, root beer, peanut butter, Creamsicle, and chili pepper, among others.

Another unique vendor, Annie Carvalho, sold “Gifts for All Ages” made from needle-felted wool and recycled sweaters. The artist made felted play food such as baked potatoes, cherry pie, fried eggs, and pancakes, as well as fiber art statuary. “The arm warmers made from reclaimed sweaters were very popular today,” she smiled.

A hot lunch was available in the Grout cafeteria, and free kid crafts and multi-cultural coloring sheets were set up in the hall. “We have students from at least twelve different countries enrolled here,” observed Bazaar Coordinator Betsy Miller. “There’s a world map in the front hall showing the countries they come from.”

In Woodstock, the Lewis Holiday Bazaar and Tree Sale was reported to be the school’s biggest fund raiser of the year. Coordinator Shawn Jaquiss said that PTA volunteers made over fifty Holiday wreaths and swags for the sale. “We’re hosting forty-one vendors and twenty-four student vendors this year,” she told THE BEE. “It's the most student vendors we’ve ever had – it’s a great experience for them.”

Lewis vendors offered photo tiles, wall and lawn art, doll clothes, origami art, hair accessories, socks, tree ornaments, some furniture, clothing, and breadboards. Julie Wallace, owner of Wallace Books in Westmoreland, donated a table-full of books to the sale.

Baked goodies, and a hot lunch of rosemary chicken with wild rice and Grand Central bread, were available in the cafeteria.

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