By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Work of 'bazaar' ladies showcased
Event Saturday at Cumming First UMC
Jean Kemp holds up a hat she made for the Cumming First UMC Christmas Bazaar on Saturday. - photo by Autumn Vetter

If you’re going

The Cumming First United Methodist Christmas Bazaar, featuring handmade items created by church members, will be from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday in the church’s family life center, 770 Canton Hwy. For more information, visit

A group of some 20 women has been working since February to craft items for a church event Saturday.

Cumming First United Methodist Church will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., with proceeds benefitting various church programs.

Unlike many such events that invite outside vendors in to sell their wares, this event features only hand-crafted items by the group of women known as "the bazaar ladies."

"Now that’s bazaar with an ‘a,’ not bizarre with an ‘i,’" joked Neida Streit, the church’s director of communications.

She explained that the ladies meet every Tuesday from February through early November to create the various items. Some also work on projects at home.

"The only rule is, it has to be handmade," she said. "And we don’t allow any outside vendors to come in."

Tuesday, several of the ladies tackled projects ranging from paintings and crocheted dolls to decorated plastic Christmas trees.

Other items included everything from holiday centerpieces to jewelry and handbags.

"It’s definitely a great place to find a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift," said Sally Merck, the head bazaar lady.

Merck added the group allows different women with different talents to shine.

"Some people can paint, some can knit," she said. "All the ladies have special things they can do."

Streit said members are resourceful, incorporating numerous recyclables in their creations.

"They use old CDs as bases for the snowmen," she said. "They use the tops of our printer ink cartridges to make little desktop boxes and [potato chip] cans to make decorations.

"Don’t let them see you throwing anything away or they’ll say, ‘We can use that.’"

Member Bev McMichael said the group scours crafting magazines and catalogs during December and January.

"When we come back in February, we spend the first couple of weeks looking for all our ideas," McMichael said.

Streit said the bazaar draws hundreds of customers each year.

"We’ve had as many as 600," she said. "It’s always really popular."

The ladies will also sell homemade biscuits and lunch items, as well as cookies, cakes and pies.

Streit said proceeds from the bazaar "go to different things that aren’t part of the regular church budget."

Since the first bazaar in 1993, those things have included nursery supplies, tables, hymnals, bookcases, office furniture, computers, printers and cameras.

Donations have also been made to the church’s building fund and food pantry, Eagle Scout projects and various youth camps and programs.