Community bazaar

After a year off due to COVID, the Brookings-Harbor Community Bazaar will return this weekend with more than 95 vendors selling items.

The 51st annual Brookings Harbor Community Bazaar will be held this Saturday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., at both the Azalea Middle School Gym and Brookings-Harbor High School cafeteria.

The event will include hand-crafted items from over 95 vendors and is sponsored by the Philanthropic Educational Organization. The international nonprofit has a chapter in Brookings, which has provided over 30 educational scholarships to women in the community. Some of this year’s vendors come from as far away as Medford, and include makers of copper jewelry, crocheted rugs, Native American art, fudge, dog biscuits and more.

“I’ve only been acquainted with the bazaar since I moved here, but it seems like it gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Suzanne Henning, who as publicity chair for the Brookings PEO chapter has been a member of the group for 20 years.

As this year’s event rolled around, vendors were contacted in June to gauge their interest, but after having cancelled last year due to COVID, and this year being uncertain, the response was slow.

“We’ve been kind of pushed this year because we weren’t sure we could do it,” said Peggy Goergen, who joined the Brookings chapter of the PEO 15 years ago and serves as its local chair.

While this year’s food options will be limited to pre-wrapped baked goods, kettle corn and drinks, the rest of the vendors came through as the duo had hoped.

“This is a real community thing and people look forward to it,” said Goergen.

Kelly Aldrich, who grew up in Brookings and now lives in Crescent City, will be selling her eco-printed clothing and driftwood decorations for the second year.

Half a decade ago, holiday bazaars were just as popular as they are now, but they were held at various locations.

“Somebody came up with the bright idea of why don’t we hold it all in one place?” Goergen said. “So, we started with 20-or-so vendors at the Catholic church and it outgrew that fairly quickly. Then we moved to the elementary school’s multi-purpose room and outgrew that in no time.”

This will be the first year the PEO will run the event solo. The last two times the PEO worked alongside the Brookings Nite Family Community Education group (through the Oregon State Extension Service).

Every year, up to four women receive education scholarships through funds raised at the bazaar. This includes high school seniors looking to go on to college, and women hoping to further their education with postgraduate degrees. Nationally, the PEO has helped more than 116,000 women by providing over $383 million in educational assistance, according to the group’s website.

“One other really neat thing that we do is we keep in touch with our scholarship winners and we invite them to have lunch with us,” said Henning. “We had a scholarship winner two years ago who became a teacher. She had nothing when she got her job so we all chipped in and made a big box of rubber bands, scotch tape, scissors, pencils - everything you could think of.”

This week’s intense windstorm notwithstanding, the weather outlook looks good.

“This year it’s supposed to be sunny on Friday and Saturday, so that’s a real good thing,” said Henning.

“One year when we were at the high school there was a thunderstorm the day of the bazaar and all the lights went out,” added Goergen with a laugh. “You couldn’t see your hand in front of your

“My favorite part of the bazaar is just getting to meet local artisans and people visiting the show,” Aldrich said. “I've learned a lot from the other vendors when it comes to setting up the booth and things. It's always such an uplifting and community focused atmosphere.”

face and all of a sudden people started screaming. A big old, burly wet dog was scared to death and ran into the gym and was running under the tables.”

Rain or shine, the event is likely to attract big numbers.

“For everybody in the community that loves to come, it's because you see old friends and meet new ones,” Goergen said. “It will be a little different this year with masking requirements, but even so people will recognize you and it's just a really fun time.”

It’s also a great opportunity to shop for holiday gifts. The PEO will have its annual Christmas trees (one at each location) - where for $1, a pre-wrapped mystery gift goes directly to the educational cause.

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