Margaret Koblun is shown selling pies for $1.50 each or .30 cents a slice at the first Bazaar held in the Fall Fair Hall in Barriere 46 years ago in 1974.                                (Star/Journal file photo)

Margaret Koblun is shown selling pies for $1.50 each or .30 cents a slice at the first Bazaar held in the Fall Fair Hall in Barriere 46 years ago in 1974. (Star/Journal file photo)

Upcoming Barriere No Host Bazaar now in its 46th year

This annual event has been a major fundraiser for non-profit groups in the Barriere area since 1974

By Margaret Houben

The No Host Bazaar in Barriere will be 46 -years-old on Nov. 16. This annual Bazaar was started in 1974 by members of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Barriere Volunteer Fire Department. Bernie Kershaw and Barb Smith were two of the original organizers.

“I remember that the first year our group baked all our pies in the high school kitchen,” said Bernie Kershaw.

Barb Smith remembers, “We had heard of other communities holding bazaars for community groups only, and thought it was a good idea”.

So the Bazaar was organized to be for non-profit groups only, and as they registered for a table each group said what they planned to sell at their table, with the intent that each table would have a different product. Everything was either a Christmas craft item, or baking of some sort. If one table had cookies, no one else could bring cookies; if the next one had quilted items, no one else could bring quilts.

Right from the start the event took place at the Fall Fall Hall, but at first the organizers rented it. After a few years, a little bit after the BVFP Ladies Auxiliary opened it up to encouraging other groups to take turns hosting, the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (NTFFRA) decided to become “co-hosts” and donate the cost of the hall to help the smaller groups be able to afford being the hosts. The NTFFRA have continued to donate the cost of the hall ever since.

Originally, most of the groups would donate the profit they made to various other charities. For instance, the BVFD Ladies Auxiliary donated their proceeds from the 1980 event to the Cancer Fund, and for many years the Lower North Thompson CWL used the proceeds from their table to give a bursary to Barriere high school graduates.

Over the years there have been only a few changes in the Bazaar. Now there isn’t as much control over what the groups bring to their table, so there is some overlap of items offered to the public. Also, with gift baskets becoming increasingly popular the making of actual crafts has decreased somewhat, but who knows – that could change in the future.

One thing does stay the same, though. The event is still for non-profit groups only, and provides a great chance for them to show off what their members can do, what their group is all about, and also raise funds for their favourite cause or to help them purchase some much needed equipment for their own group. For instance, the Alzheimer’s Walk organizers annually use the profit from their table to start off the next year’s Walk donations.

In the last few years, a few groups have started to have their membership information handy, which is a good idea if someone wants to pay for their membership for the coming year while at the event.

At the end of the Bazaar, as the current “host” goes around collecting the table fees, they ask each group if they would like to “host” the following year. Once someone has volunteered, the name of that group is noted and passed on to the NTFFRA so they know who will be in charge next time.

Then, once the current host has finished making notes in the official No Host Bazaar book (which is usually a few weeks later) the book is passed on to the next group. That book is like gold – it has notes about what sold well and what didn’t (particularly for the concession), which groups participated and – if you go back enough years – what each group was selling. It even includes a map of the layout of the tables for each year.

If you belong to a non-profit group and would like to have a table for this year’s Nov. 16 event in the Fall Fair Hall, contact the North Thompson Valley Garden Club (this year’s organizers) by calling Marilyn at 250-672-1994.

Bring the family out to where you can shop for gifts, baking, tasty goodies, Christmas stocking stuffers and more, all at the 46th Annual No Host Bazaar at the Fall Fair Hall, 673 Barriere Lakes Road, on Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Concession on site.