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History of the Bazaar

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church bazaar ground is located next to the church and consists of stands for the sale of food, beverages, and nick-knacks, and to provide music, dancing and games of chance with the profits benefiting the church.  In addition, the bazaar provides an open-air picnic atmosphere for parishioners, their families, and friends to socialize and enjoy themselves.  It is an annual reunion of family and friends.

Churches have always relied on fund-raisers to generate money needed to maintain and improve the parish.  Traditionally the sale of food items, especially pierogi, has been the mainstay of church fundraisers.  In 1921, pierogi were sold to generate profits for construction of the road at our Edge Hill cemetery and it was nicknamed "Pierogi Hill".

The first church picnics were held at the Summit Hill streetcar station just over the hill behind the church.  In the 1930's, the picnics were held at the Sans Souci Park for one night only, on the first Monday after Labor Day, since the park was traditionally closed for the season.  Sometime in the 1940's, some annual picnics were held in the field between Davidson's Farm Market and Fred Heck's home at 479 Main Road, Hanover Green; but most picnics were held in the church basement, yard, and on the porch of the rectory.  Behind the church was a rocky hill where a grotto-type building was constructed; it served as a refreshment stand for the picnics.  There was a small kitchen with a coal-fired stove in the church basement where the food was prepared and served.  Due to the lack of indoor plumbing at that time, a "two-hole" outhouse was located behind the church.  After the church burned in December 1946, the picnic was held in the parking area of Ellis Market (the old Buttonwood school yard) for several years.

When the new church was built, the yard was too small for large picnics but the church basement had a new kitchen and it became the choice for large affairs, however, there was a need for parking and for a picnic area.  In 1958, Rev. Wydra purchased several acres of land behind the church; he died in 1968, and his bequest to the church resulted in Rev. Kaczmarek having the hill removed and paved for parking about 1970.  The "hill" behind the church was actually a small mountain of shale rock about thirty feet high.  It was removed with a bulldozer over a period of several years by John Basar.  He was assisted by parishioners including Rev. Kaczmarek.  It was hard work.

The land became the location of the bazaar grounds.  Stands were built by men of the parish.  Material for construction of the stands came from different sources.  Used cinder blocks came from the San Souci Park that was razed in 1973.  Light fixtures were salvaged from the Acme Market in Dundee, which was being remodeled by Weis Market.  Steel supports for the bandstand came from the Loomis Colliery and were welded together by Florian Suchar.  Joe Buydos installed most of the electrical wiring.  Henry Turoski did a lot of the carpentry work.  Many other members of the parish donated their services to erect the buildings.  

The bazaar area consists of several buildings.  A large kitchen/restaurant is centrally located.  A beer stand is also located on the outer edge.  A bandstand is centrally located.  Around the outside edges are stands for pizza, soda, ice cream, bingo, and assorted games.  The rest rooms are also located on the outer edge.  Two huge circus tents are located in the center area for various games and concessions.  Two small ticket booths are strategically located.  Two large parking areas complete the arrangements.

Over the years, many parishioners donated funds and labor for the operation and maintenance of the bazaar stands.  The various ladies and men's clubs have always contributed supplies and labor to make the bazaar a success.  Local merchants have also helped by contributing supplies and advertisements.  Pierogi, the main attraction at the bazaar, are made by the ladies clubs.  Maintenance of the stands and construction of several dozen picnic tables has been handled by the Men's Club.

The bazaar has always been a very welcome affair due to its excellent food and family type entertainment.  Security personnel ensure the safety of visitors.  There was only one serious accident; in July 1993, a propane gas leak ignited and destroyed the kitchen building.  Fortunately, the fire happened at night after the bazaar was over; no one was hurt, the building was insured, and it was rebuilt shortly after.

Father McGahagan, pastor of the church, has the major responsibility for the success of the bazaar; he has done an excellent job of providing leadership and inspiring the parishioners to become actively involved.  The next most difficult position is the chairman; over the years chairmen included Dave DeMorat, Albert Statkiewicz, George Tomko, Tony Gurnari, and John Nutaitis.  They donated many weeks of their time towards supervising a multitude of items for the large affair.  They have been assisted by members of the many sub-committees making up the organization and by several hundred workers who faithfully set up the stands, man the booths, and clean up afterwards.  Mother nature has cooperated over the years and a handsome profit has been generated annually for the benefit of the church.

 


 

In the past, as now, we cater to our patrons by providing fresh homemade food, great entertainment, and a friendly family atmosphere!  Come join us and enjoy the fun!!