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Biennial Netherlands Bazaar again a huge draw in community

Event raises over $123,000

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THORNHILL, Ontario – The fundraising for relief efforts by Committee Netherlands Bazaar have been given a major boost with the highly successful October 3 event at the Thornhill Community Centre. Organizers anticipate the biennial bazaar will have at a minimum equaled the net results of two years ago when they raised $123,000. It will probably take a number of days before a more definitive report will be available.

For the committee, the event is the climax of two years of preparatory work, which includes much logistical juggling as donations arrive for storage till the biennial event, the sorting of the goods, the hauling and the setting up of the market stalls at the community centre in the Toronto suburb.

The work is all done by dozens of volunteers, of which most pitch in during the actual bazaar but others who are involved throughout the whole process. There are very few volunteers left from the first bazaar, started back in the 1950s.

Lead organizer Gé Spaans has seen her crews slowly evolve over the years, with older ones dropping out and younger ones rising to the challenge. She finds it very gratifying to see the involvement of so many people of which some knit and quilt on an ongoing basis, and others create woodwork and other crafts, specifically for the bazaar.

The numbers clearly confirm that the bazaar is a much appreciated community event. Local people may not realize that the bazaar is even a draw with fans as far away as the Netherlands Antilles and various places in the U.S.A. where people add Toronto to their itinerary so they can take in the bazaar with all its attractions, but above all as a meeting place with old acquaintances and the ‘gezelligheid.’

Another group of people whose support is crucial is the business community, which makes available everything, including surplus merchandise to valuable prizes. A key role is fulfilled by DUCA, which, among other help, made available a term deposit of $1,500 as one of the many prizes.

Spaans often refocuses people on the reason why all the effort is put in: those who for one reason or other face hard times and need help, especially when there are children involved. Over the years the organization has aided numerous people with food parcels, particularly around Christmas as well as helped with summer camps for the children. With the bazaar out of the way, attention will soon go to the collection of information to determine who qualifies for that help. Photo gallery: