Brownsville bazaar brings holiday spirit

Event to benefit local elementary students.

The Christmas countdown has begun in Brownsville as the Brownsville Elementary PTSA isn’t letting the Scrooge-like economic times keep it from its decade-old holiday bazaar.

The event today, which is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, has netted about $2,000 in the past, said bazaar chairwoman Denise Mangarelli, who has spearheaded the event for the past three years.

“In the past two years, we have replaced the aging primary playground by purchasing the equipment and then hosted a work day where we all got together and built the playground under the supervision of the manufacturer,” Mangarelli said. “We have updated technology in the classrooms and funded the art docent program and other enrichment programs for the students.”

A $1 donation is suggested at the door and canned food donations also will be accepted to benefit area food banks, she said.

“Our goal is to promote community spirit and provide a fun and unique holiday experience,” she said. “If someone isn’t able to donate something, they are not turned away.”

With more than 40 artists and craftsmen offering unique handmade items and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts are available for even the most discriminating of shoppers.

With selections including items from felters, who create scarves, hats, purses and animals from felted wool to sewers offering an alluring array of aprons, table linens, quilts and kitchen towels to photographers, artists and even jewelers and furniture makers, there is no shortage of choices, Mangarelli said.

Among the favorites at the event is a vendor, “who makes absolutely fantastic home decor items from salvaged materials that are unique and beautiful, and sculpted Santa figures that look so real you think they may shout out ‘Merry Christmas!’” she said.

Pet lovers also will find the “purrfect” gift for their feline or the “doggonedest” deal for their canine as well, because the bazaar features a vendor who makes custom dog clothing, pet beds and accessories, Mangarelli said.

For shoppers looking for the finer things, there are vases and jewelry boxes made from polished driftwood, intricate bird houses complete with real stone fireplaces and even an artisan who specializes in making one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments for each customer, she said.

Along with the holiday shopping excitement, the Brownsville Chorus will give a 30-minute performance today and there also will be a mini-performance of the Nutcracker Suite by the Dance Arts Theater, Mangarelli said.

“I have never seen anyone attend and leave unhappy. It is a wonderful way to get into gear for the holidays without the commercialism,” she said. “It gives a feeling of true holiday and community spirit. Where else can you go for a dollar and find so much fun and entertainment?”

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