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This Christmas season, you can buy the old, traditional gifts for family and friends: Clothing, toys, appliances, jewelry, electronic items, cell phones, video games, MP3 players, etc. And, as comic Jerry Seinfeld might say, "not that there’s anything wrong with it."
But there are other types of gifts available, too. Some of them were on display Saturday in Great Bend at two (probably more) locations — the Fair Trade Market, at 1210 Main and the Dominican Sisters of Peace Annual Mission Benefit Bazaar, at 3600 Broadway.
At the Sisters’ Bazaar, you could see many a potholder, and bizarre walking marionettes like "Buster," a slinky critter of some sort.
Also for sale at the Bazaar were art objects from Peru. Some Nigerian art was on display, but not for sale.
Of course, there were lots of baked goods, including homemade desserts, noodles; also peanut brittle. The sisters also had 1,400 jars of jelly and jams to sell, and 400 bags of the aforementioned noodles. Also 80 sets of embroidered tea towels, Sister Charlotte Brungardt said.
There were 1,500 nylon "scratchers" for doing dishes (pots and pans) and, at the point of disuse, good for removing bugs from the front of one’s car.
There were religious items, of course. Twelve theme baskets were to be given away in an afternoon drawing. The day began with coffee and rolls available for breakfast or brunch, and then soups and pies for lunch.
Students from St. Ann’s Parish, Olmitz, again helped to bus tables, to carry out heavy items and help serve. They have done this for more than 10 years at the annual event, Sister Charlotte said.
Associate members of the organization, lay members and their families helped with the work, as hundreds of people passed through the bazaar. "We had more than 135 volunteers," Sister Charlotte said.
Proceeds from the day will go to the Sisters’ Nigerian mission, a daughter community, and to minister to the poor in Central Kansas.
At the Free Trade Market, run by volunteer members from the First Presbyterian Church and First Congregational United Church of Christ, both of Great Bend, items available included chocolate, coffees and teas, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, drums and other musical instruments, with all items made or prepared by hand in other countries.
"This is for them (people in other nations) to make a living," a Great Bend volunteer said. The Fair Trade Market, which was open from Wednesday through Saturday this past week, also featured other handcrafted items, baskets, carvings, toys, olive oil, soup "makings," home decor and clothing.