Celebrating the spirit of the season at Garden Villa
Volunteer Bernice McLeod stands with Garden Villa staff during the residence’s Christmas Bazaar on Nov. 17. From left, Darlene Sherrer, Lynne Smith, Nancy Thrasher, Jennifer Lafrance, Kim Backes, Betty Zappa, McLeod, Karen Parks, and Everett Preston.   O’Donohue photo 

Michelle O’Donohue
Record Contributor
CHESTERVILLE – It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Groups all across SD&G are coming together to celebrate the season leading up to Christmas. Garden Villa Retirement Residence in Chesterville marked the start of the holiday season on Fri., Nov. 17, when the residence opened its doors to the public for their annual Christmas Bazaar. The bazaar has been a yearly Christmas tradition since Garden Villa opened in 2011. Residents, families, staff and members of the community came together to celebrate, do some shopping and get ready for the holidays.

Residents’ craft table Residents of the Garden Villa were invited to sell their crafts at the Resident Table during the bazaar. The table featured beautifully hand-knit and hand-sewn items. O’Donohue photo

The event took place from 11:30 to 3:30, and crowds were present throughout to socialize and shop. Activities included a silent auction, baked goods table, fruitcake sale, white elephant table and a tea room open for visiting. Additionally, over 20 vendors participated, setting up tables in the front entrance as well as the second floor of the residence. Vendors were selling a variety of items including; jewellery, crafts, clothing, accessories, candles, décor and food items.

One of the featured vendors was the Resident Table. The table was filled with homemade creations from individuals residing at Garden Villa. Any resident who wanted to contribute items for sale was able. The table featured hand-knit hats, mitts, sweaters and dishcloths, as well as hand-sewn potholders. Two of the contributors to the table had already planned what they intended to do with any of their items that did not sell during the bazaar. Edith Baker advised that her unsold items would be donated to the House of Lazarus, and Helen Holmes plans to bring any of her remaining items to her church.

Karen Parks, Recreation Coordinator at Garden Villa, noted the team effort required to put the event on, and that the “decorating alone” was a large undertaking. The decorations were certainly plentiful, beginning outside the residence with Christmas trees and planters, and continuing into the main entrance with more trees, a large garland extending up the grand staircase, and ornaments hanging from the ceiling. Parks mentioned that the timeline to get all of the decorations up was short as well, as they began only following the Remembrance Day service at the residence the previous weekend.

When speaking about the success of the day, Parks mentioned that the 53 fruitcakes that were baked for the bazaar had sold out quickly. When asked about the importance of events such as this one, Parks stated that “first and foremost” it fosters “a sense of community within the building.” She went on to say that participation in preparation activities for the bazaar, from baking fruitcakes, to making crafts, to decorating, provides residents with feelings of “pride in a job well done.” Additionally, she mentioned the importance of opening the residence doors to the community to allow people in to see who they are and what they do, strengthening their relationship with the community.