Carol Smith knows that good sights and scents will greet visitors to the First Congregational Church bazaar.
The 69th annual Christmas event is set from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Fremont church at 1150 N. Broad St. Admission is free.
Those who attend can see the church’s latest work of art — a king size, evergreen- and cranberry-colored quilt that is one of three raffle prizes. Various nose-pleasing smells will fill the church greeting guests with the aroma of cinnamon rolls and other fresh-baked goods and the traditional ham loaf lunch. Holiday favorites such as the cookie bar, mincemeat, Santa’s Attic and book nook will be part of the bazaar as well.
The public is invited to the bazaar which offers fellowship while raising funds for the church.
“It’s our tradition and it’s our largest fundraiser,” said Smith, a bazaar committee member.
Smith appreciates the camaraderie of the church and the community at the event.
“It’s the whole church pulling together to make it happen,” she said. “You see God’s hands in everything we do. It’s pretty inspiring.”
She also cites stories of touching moments that have occurred at past bazaars. Some people have shed happy tears when winning a quilt. A couple of cash prize winners have used that money to buy food items which they donated to the Low Income Ministry.
One of the most popular features of bazaar is the cookie bar. Cookies are sold by the pound. Buyers get a box which they fill with their favorite selections. Boxes then are weighed to determine the cost.
As in the past, shoppers can purchase sugar, gingerbread and frosted cookies. Peanut butter cookies, each topped with a chocolate candy kiss, also should be available.
Homemade candy and baked goods will be for sale along with the traditional pints of mincemeat.
Guests to the bazaar may sample mincemeat from a crockpot before purchasing pint jars of it for $9 each. (One jar makes one pie).
“It really is yummy,” Smith said.
Church members began making mincemeat around the turn of the century and have sold it at the annual Christmas bazaar since 1944. The church still uses the same mincemeat recipe, which is kept secret.
Each year, shoppers come to the bazaar wanting to buy the church’s canned mincemeat; some people living out of state even call to place orders for it.
Mincemeat dates back to the 11th century and was put into a holiday pie around the time the Crusaders returned from the Holy Land, states data from whatscookinginamerica.com.
The church’s mincemeat includes fruits such as apples, currants and ground roast beef.
“It’s rare to find a true mincemeat. A lot are just fruit and this has fruit and meat,” Smith said.
Coffee and cinnamon rolls, available for purchase, will be served starting at 9 a.m. Visitors also can buy lunch. The traditional ham loaf or chicken salad dinner begins at 11 a.m. and includes homemade pies.
The book nook, which offers gently used tomes, and Santa’s Attic are other popular features.
At Santa’s Attic, shoppers can find new or gently used holiday items, including decorations and apparel.
Various gift baskets, including those with Nebraska items or handyman tools or skin care products, will be available at the silent auction. Table centerpieces will be for sale as well.
One bazaar highlight is the quilt handmade by church members. Raffle tickets may be purchased at the church office or from church members. The quilt is on display at Country Traditions in downtown Fremont this weekend.
“It is beautiful,” Smith said of the quilt, adding, “It’s made with love.”
And it’s just part of the scents, sounds and sights of Christmas at the annual bazaar.