09 Nov Westerwood’s Holiday Bazaar: A Spirited Time Yule Love
When you take in the scale of Westerwood’s holiday bazaar, you’d think a large team was responsible for putting it together. Then you meet the duo spearheading the bazaar and you can’t help but be in awe.
Whether it’s sorting through all the priceless baubles for sale or strategizing how to work with the community, event co-chairs Laura S. and Marilyn R. are determined to create a memorable holiday experience for all. These spirited ladies have made their lists, they’re checking them twice and making sure everything you see will be nicely priced.
How It Started
Laura and Marilyn understand that the bazaar tradition goes back before their time at Westerwood.
“We can count COVID in there as a culprit for the slowdown,” Marilyn explains. “However, the event started up again last year.”
“It’s completely volunteer run,” Laura adds. “But staff members are always so happy to help if we need their assistance and residents really volunteer their time.”
How the Bazaar Comes Together
Curating the pieces featured at the bazaar begins months in advance.
“It’s long, and we work slowly,” Marilyn says matter-of-factly. “There’s nothing quick about it.”
“It’s a tedious process that begins around September, and we spend about an hour at a time sorting through possible saleables/rehoming items,” Laura adds.
According to both ladies, they always have donations to sort through because of constant moves around the community in which many people downsize and donate. From jewelry to pottery and holiday decorations, there’s enough variety for everyone to find the perfect item.
“We’re very appreciative,” Marilyn says. “And the families are very pleased we can rehome their precious keepsakes for others to enjoy.”
Those items eventually find their way to Friendship Hall, a central gathering place on campus where a number of events take place—and where shelving units, tables and available wall space will be full of gifts and decorations.
“It’s quite a sight to see once it’s all put together,” Marilyn explains as Laura nods in agreement.
The spirited duo also noted that the funds raised from the bazaar go back to fund resident activities, hire outside entertainment and help purchase equipment for the community.
Beyond raising funds, Marilyn and Laura explained that the bazaar also allows residents to shop at their own pace and socialize with various folks. It’s truly a positive experience for all.
“People like a deal; the residents like to have something to buy, and it helps spread holiday cheer,” they said.
“Everyone is welcome. We have great prices and exciting wares. What’s not to like? We also raffle off themed baskets. Everything from handmade mittens to Royal Dalton, we’ve got it.”
-Marilyn and Laura
Getting the Word Out
Promoting the event on campus is easy, but finding ways to advertise to the outside community is the real challenge.
Although they’ve certainly tried to hang up signs at various store bulletin boards and windows across the area, the duo said they’ve had to rethink their promotional strategy. Even though signage is always a winning method, Marilyn and Laura are going digital—via newsletters, blogs by local organizations and neighborhoods, and social media.
They also encourage the staff to spread the word and invite possible future residents. During our interview, both ladies were quick to workshop more ideas—specifically looking into how Westerwood’s connection to Otterbein University could help promote the holiday bazaar even more (and laughing the entire time).
Interested in stopping by the bazaar? Call (614) 568-0503 for more information or to schedule a visit of the campus today.
Attend the Holiday Bazaar
December 1-2 | 10 am to 4 pm
5800 Forest Hills Blvd | Columbus, Ohio 43231
Friday is designated for staff and residents only.
Saturday is open to the public.