The floor of the St. Mary’s gymnasium was filled with people trying to sell their holiday goods Saturday. All the while, people were looking at books on the gym’s stage, taking their pictures with Santa Claus and making bets on a spinning wheel where the prizes were baked goods.
With Thanksgiving taking place this week and Black Friday and small business Saturday afterward, Cortland residents got a leg up on the Christmas shopping season while helping St. Mary’s School on Main Street with its annual Christmas Bazaar and Craft Fair.
The bazaar, a long-standing tradition at St. Mary’s, helps raise about $10,000 a year to offset the tuition costs for 150 students. The average tuition cost is about $4,000.
Lory Prine, a kindergarten teacher and chairwoman of the bazaar’s organizing committee, said 40 vendors took part and about 500 people shop there over the course of the day. Most of them come out to get some Christmas shopping done.
“It’s a great place with so much variety,” Prine said. “There’s something for everyone here.”
St. Mary’s fourth-grader Sophia Hartman and her sister, first-grader Elizabeth, played games — like a ring toss where wreaths are thrown around Christmas trees — while their mother, Hillary Hartman, did her shopping.
Peggy Stauf of Homer came to start her Christmas shopping. “I got some books for my nieces and some ornaments for myself and a co-worker,” Stauf said.
Besides the holiday decorations and knickknacks, jewelry, candles, soap and other sales dotted the gymnasium’s vendor area.
Jane Conroy of Trumansburg sold baskets she weaves, hats and mittens she sewed and snowmen she painted. She sells non-holiday products, like wallets and purses, too. She just makes what she wants to make.
Most of Conroy’s products are meant for the Christmas season, with people buying snowmen for home decorations and hats and mittens for themselves.
“You don’t see many of those in the spring or summer,” Conroy said.
Michelle Farron of Cortland sold yarn hats and mittens. She knitted for months before starting to sell them at fairs she attends from October to December.
“It’s definitely the busiest time for me,” Farron said, whose knitted hats range from superhero logos to Muppets and Disney characters.