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Holiday bazaar for Baraboo hospital features handmade gifts

November 12, 2018
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Ann Adkins, manager of Unique Boutique Gift Shop at St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, shows off the Christmas-themed decorations for sale at the shop Friday. They will also be offered at the St. Clare Auxiliary Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale on Saturday in the lower level of the hospital.

With their $1 million donation goal on the horizon, SSM Health St. Clare Hospital Auxiliary members will offer unique handmade items and homemade baked goods at their annual holiday bazaar Saturday.

“I think it’s kind of a nice service, you know, because it’s Christmas shopping, people are starting to shop and looking for different things, and I don’t think there are that many places that have handmade things anymore,” said Sharon Lesar, a co-chairwoman for the event.

She, co-chairwoman Joan Pinion and auxiliary member Ann Adkins, who manages the hospital’s Unique Boutique Gift Shop, all plan to pick up gifts at the fundraiser, which they said coincides with other bazaars at local churches.

“We see a lot of people (at the bazaar),” Adkins said. “A lot of people go from bazaar to bazaar. … It’s like a fun day for people to get together and go out and visit all of them, which is kind of fun.”

The items for sale include knitted baby sweaters, baby quilts, hats, scarves, embroidered towels, holiday decorations and some sale items from the gift shop. Roughly 10 people in the auxiliary’s sewing group, the Thimblelinas, including Adkins, make items year round to sell at the bazaar but ramp up their efforts as the event approaches with many holiday-themed creations. A knitting group of about 10 also produces handmade gifts.

The baked treats, made by auxiliary members and sold at the bazaar, don’t usually last through the holidays — they get gobbled up right away, Lesar said.

Money raised by the auxiliary helps purchase medical equipment for the hospital and funds a scholarship program for local residents interested in entering the medical field. In 2018, the group purchased more than $40,000 worth of equipment and awarded 17 scholarships of $600 each.

Last year’s bazaar netted $3,300. Lesar said the event usually raises $2,000 to $3,000 for the auxiliary, which has donated a total of just over $898,000 to the hospital since its inception in the late 1950s. The organization’s goal of donating $1 million could be reached next year, she said.

“It all depends upon the support we get from the community,” Lesar said. “That’s where all of our money goes.”

The holiday bazaar and bake sale will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital’s lower-level Ringling Room. Santa will make an appearance at 10 a.m. Unique Boutique, run by the auxiliary with proceeds going toward the same donation fund, will be open until 2 p.m. Saturday, as well as from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays in December.

Lesar said planning for the bazaar starts in October. It’s been an annual tradition for longer than the 15 years she’s been in the auxiliary.

“It’s getting in the mood for the holidays,” Pinion said.

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