By: Deanna Rebro | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2008
Nancy Stanley is co-chair of 36th annual ESA Arts & Crafts Benefit Bazaar.
What started out 36 years ago as a small arts & crafts event in a Wal-Mart parking lot has turned into one of Broken Arrow’s largest community fundraising projects. It’s Epsilon Sigma Alpha’s Arts & Crafts Benefit Bazaar, to be held this year on Saturday, October 25 at Clarence Oliver Middle School.
The sisters of Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA)’s Alpha Rho Chapter will feature nearly 100 booths filled with handmade items for your own enjoyment or for gift-giving during the holidays. You’ll find homemade noodles, soup mixes and other wonderful food items, floral arrangements, tablewear, knitwear and apparel, Halloween and Thanksgiving merchandise, Christmas ornaments, pottery, candles, jewelry, wooden puzzles and other wooden items, quilts, needlework, bath and beauty supplies, and a whole lot more.
Nancy Stanley, co-chair of the event with Ann Wear, says that one thing you won’t find is a lot of commercial vendors. The majority of the merchandise is handmade by the 24 sorority members and other crafters.
None of the items are mass produced, and many are one-of-a-kind treasures that will be snatched up early. Nancy adds that it’s amazing how many people come to the bazaar every year to buy unique Halloween items. “The community really supports this project because they know we have quality merchadise,” Nancy explains. “And we are raising money for people in need – people who live right here among us.”
One of the cornerstones of ESA is to serve local philanthropies. To date, the Alpha Rho Chapter has raised over $218,000 for Broken Arrow Neighbors, Meals on Wheels, A New Leaf, the Margaret Hudson Program, Clare House, Parkview School for the Blind in Muskogee, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, college scholarships, and individuals in need. They have provided support to national organizations such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and National Easter Seals.
ESA also supports the Broken Arrow Arts & Humanities Council by providing space for a book sale. “This is a real favorite with the husbands,” says Nancy. “The entire area is very well lit. They can relax and spend hours with a great selection of books.”
A new line for this year’s bazaar is handmade stationery. You’ll find beautiful pieces to use, give away or frame. Also new is a children’s activity area. While moms and dads shop, kids can have their pictures taken for a small fee and then hone their creative skills while decorating their very own picture frame.
Throughout the day, food, beverages and desserts will be available, and raffles for donated items will be occurring. Proceeds from the raffles will benefit the Margaret Hudson Program and Clare House.
The entire show is on one level, without steps and with easy wheelchair access. Parking is close, plentiful and free. Admission is also free. The ladies have come a long way since 1972, when a handful of deeply committed sorority sisters prayed that it wouldn’t rain during their first arts & crafts benefit in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Their spirit of bringing good people together to accomplish good things hasn’t changed. ESA enlists the help of the Broken Arrow High School National Honor Society to lend a hand with setting up and cleaning up on Friday and Saturday nights. These future leaders get the opportunity to learn the meaning of service from some of Broken Arrow’s most sharing and caring ladies.
Find yourself some great shopping opportunities while helping people in your community. Plan to attend the ESA Arts & Crafts Benefit Bazaar on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Clarence Oliver Middle School, located at 3100 W. New Orleans (101st St.). For information on booth space, call (918) 251-0617.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.