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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fall Festival and the Get Well Soon basket

My church decided to skip its annual Church Bazaar this past August. This is unfortunate for several reasons. It is an end to a tradition that has always been a part of my life, and has always indicated the "turnover point" for summer - the point where you no longer thought of summer as an escape from school, but rather as a march towards the new school year. Its cancellation was due to the aging of our parish - there just aren't enough able-bodied people willing or able to work the long hours a church bazaar demands. It marked a significant loss of annual income to the parish. And it meant I had to skip my planned blog entry on this year's bazaar.

To make up for this the church has decided to hold a "Mini Fall Festival" on Sunday, November 6th. I still have no clear idea what this is, although I do know it provides me with a truly lame excuse for not going to the Nine Inch Nails concert in Wilkes-Barre that night. (Sorry, Camilla. But I probably wasn't going anyway.) Part of this festival is a "Chinese Auction." If you've never taken part in one of these, here's how it works: Various items are made available for you to win. You purchase tickets - basically raffle tickets - and place your tickets in a container corresponding to the item you would like to "bid" on. Say you have 20 tickets, and there are 10 items up for bid. You can bid two tickets on each item, or all of your tickets on one item, or split them up however you like. At the end of the event there is a drawing for each item. Your odds of winning the drawing for any given item vary based on the number of tickets that have been bid by you for that item, and the number of tickets that have been bid by other people for that item.

Theoretically, a person can bid a single ticket and win the drawing. Also theoretically, a single person can be the only person who bids on every item and can win every prize with just the minimum ticket purchase. The idea is that you can get more if you win than you spent on tickets, and the church will get more in ticket revenue than the actual value of the prizes - or else it would have made more sense to simply donate the cash value of the prize directly to the church.

My cousin and I had the idea for the Get Well Soon basket back in August of 2004. I was sorry that the 2005 bazaar was cancelled and we never got a chance to make it a reality, but the Fall Festival and the call for baskets for the Chinese Auction gave us a second chance. Originally this was going to be a just-for-the-hell-of-it thing, but now we're going to give it in memory of our fathers, both of whom died in the last few months.
It's not likely that the church will get more income from ticket purchases on the Get Well Soon basket than it actually cost. The tub (intended as a foot-soaking tub, although the iconic image of a sick person soaking his feet is archaic and has been mostly forgotten) cost $5, as did the (hard-to-see) blanket that lines the tub. (It was $9.99, but purchased at 50% off.) The contents easily come to $30 - $50 - they range from a $1 seek-a-word book from a dollar store to expensive packets of foot soak, bath crystals, and Breathe Easy tea from a health food store. Even the Get Well card was $2.99. (Other contents include instant cocoa, instant chicken soup, a mug, a can of ginger ale, a bottle of Gatorade, cough drops, Horehound candy, hard candies, skin lotion, antibacterial gel, a thermometer, hot/cold packs, slipper socks, and a box of tissues with lotion.)

If you find yourself in Nanticoke on Sunday, November 6, stop by St. Mary's Church (a.k.a. Our Lady of Czestachowah) at 1030 South Hanover Street from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For just the price of some tickets you can take a chance on the Get Well Soon basket!

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