By Joe Bachman
‘Black Friday’ isn’t the only way shoppers can kick off the holiday season.
The Christmas Bazaar will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event goes beyond raising money for the South Wood County Humane Society, (SWCHS) but also offers once-a-year bakery treats, raffles, pictures with Santa, and much more.
Everything sold in the bazaar is donated, and not just from Wisconsin Rapids residents. People from as far as Wausau and Merrill drop off items for this event. All items are tested and looked over beforehand by volunteers, and range from holiday decor, ornaments, Christmas trees, and even holiday items for pets.
This isn’t just another local holiday event, however, as large turnouts have become the norm. All proceeds go towards the humane society and last year over $12,000 dollars was raised.
“They’ll stand in line like it’s ‘black friday’, said SWCHS Executive Director Bridget Chariton. “We had a line of about 75 waiting to get in last year.”
According to Chariton, the big draw is the bakery, as it has created a following of its own.
“Somebody makes that one treat every year that they can’t find anywhere else,” said Chariton.
The event has a core group of volunteers that work on the one-day event year-round. The humane society also accepts donations for the entire year for this event. According to Chariton, not only is the event is a great way to kick off the holiday season, but it has become a sort of tradition, as well.
“People will come to the bazaar and buy their stuff — they decide next year to donate it, and then they come here and buy new stuff.” said Chariton.
The Christmas Bazaar will take place inside of the old Younkers building at the Rapids Mall, located at 555 W. Grand Ave.