35 years of the Unitarian Fall Fair

Story and photos by Judith van Berkom – 

Friends, family, all ages, meet annually and eagerly line up for the opening of the Fall Fair at the Unitarian Church in the Kitchissippi ward. Located close to the Ottawa River, on Cleary Ave., Saturday, November 18, 2015 was the 35th anniversary of the Fall Fair. 350 people lined up and waited for doors to open at 9:30 a.m.

What originally started as a modest endeavour, the fair now requires 400 volunteers working together for a full week to pull it off. Proceeds from the annual sale go toward approximately 8% of the church’s overall annual budget, making it possible for the church to support many social justice initiatives such as donations to the food bank, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and currently, the sponsorship of at least one Syrian refugee family.

On the big day the 16, 000 square foot church was transformed into a market, selling one-of-a-kind items, anything from diamond rings at the silent auction, designer labels in the Boutique, books, jewelry, stamps and coins, to Indian food in the downstairs International Café.

Donations are gratefully received from congregants, their friends and family, and anyone looking to downsize or clean out their homes.

Martha Smith from Kitchissippi, and her sister from Baltimore, bid on a hand-quilted piece of art from Wakefield and a soapstone Inuit sculpture in the silent auction.
Kitchissippi’s Andy Palachuk and Henri Masson from Rockwell Heights are fellow stamp collectors who meet up at the Fair every year.
Long time friends Julie Bishop and Valerie Cousins donated 12 boxes of books to the sale this year.
Jim and Norma Neunan recently moved to Kitchissippi and purchased items for their family at the sale.

One thought

  1. It’s the 35th year of the Fall Fair, but there was a fall bazaar (the ‘Bizarre Bazaar’ we called it in LRY) at First Unitarian for years before that. We started going when joined the church in about 1973-74. I used to look forward to it, I could buy books by the bagful, and they got cheaper as the day went on. I’ve still got some of the records I bought there. Nice to see the tradition lives on!

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