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Vienna’s Fair-est Saturday Presents Early Holiday Bazaars

The Vienna Woman’s Club and the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary host their annual fundraisers.

Many vendors selling at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary harvest bazaar return year after year, as do many of the fair’s customers.

Many vendors selling at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary harvest bazaar return year after year, as do many of the fair’s customers. Photo courtesy of VVFD Auxiliary

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with the first of Vienna’s festive bazaars? On Saturday, Nov. 10, there are two of them, adjacent to one another, no less. Both the Vienna Woman’s Club and the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary host their annual fundraiser craft fairs, offering homemade crafts, baked goods, raffles, and even lunch.

The Vienna Woman’s Club annual bazaar, its only fundraiser, supports the club’s scholarship programs. Every year, the Woman’s Club awards a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior from each of the area’s three high schools: George C. Marshall, James Madison and Oakton. It also provides grants to Vienna’s four elementary schools to be used for the schools’ summer reading programs. Remaining available funds can then be allocated to support other local community programs.

Held throughout the Vienna Community Center, the bazaar raises money by selling vendor space. There are 80 vendors signed up for 2012, selling handmade crafts, jewelry, stained glass, skincare products, doll clothes, original art, and wares from the Pampered Chef.

Not only is there a craft sale, but the club sponsors a used-book sale, mementos and trinkets in Aunt Alice’s Attic, and also provides activities for young children in an upstairs room. Raffle prizes are donated by community businesses and individuals, and the Vienna Lions Club helps to set up the tables.

“It’s an opportunity to get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping,” said Woman’s Club President Diane Abel. “By supporting our fundraiser, you are also supporting the community.”

THE WOMAN’S CLUB charges a nominal admission cost of $2 for anyone 12 years old and older. The bazaar runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Vienna Community Center is located at 120 Cherry St. SE.

Meanwhile, across the street from the community center, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary opens its doors for its annual holiday bazaar on Nov. 10, as well.

Intersecting Cherry Street and Center Street is the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department station house. Going back 35 to 40 years, the annual Auxiliary craft bazaar raises money to buy equipment for Vienna’s volunteer fire department.

On a smaller scale than the Woman’s Club bazaar, VVFD’s Auxiliary’s bazaar features 25 to 30 vendors, many of whom return year after year. Shoppers, too, include regulars who return year after year.

“A lot of things are one-of-a-kind,” said VVFD Auxiliary President Joan Dempsey. “They’re unique, not mass-produced.”

The “craft lady,” a vendor for more than 20 years, is coming back to sell her fleece blankets and crocheted pieces. There’s vendors selling jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and décor pieces. All vendors donate, at least, one item for the raffle. Raffle tickets sell for three for $1.

Lunch is prepared and sold by the auxiliary, from barbecue sandwiches—everyone’s favorite, Dempsey says—to nachos, chili, baked goods, hot dogs and the “really” popular chili-cheese hot dogs.

All net proceeds go toward the purchase of fire equipment. Most recently, the auxiliary paid for and donated the department’s canteen vehicle.

Dempsey said that the two bazaars are not in competition. In fact, both the auxiliary and the Vienna Woman’s Club publicize each other’s bazaar. “We work together,” Dempsey said.

“[The bazaar] is like a family environment,” said Dempsey. “The same familiar faces, vendors and customers, year after year.”

THE AUXILIARY’S HARVEST BAZAAR is upstairs in the fire station’s Flame Room, and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10. Admission is free.