TORRINGTON — The Torrington Lions Club Holiday Bazaar began in 1980 and has been a huge annual event since. The Bazaar is usually held the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is a highlight of the community, as Shari Zweibel, president of Lions Club states, as she heads the event.
“This is our main fundraiser for our club, and we look forward to it every year. It’s a fun time for all,” she said. “The money goes toward our club providing eye exams and glasses to those who qualify. And, this is the first year since I’ve been with the club that we’ve had more applications than usual. So, we must be doing good for more people are hearing about us. So, we need to raise money for our community as the needs continue to rise. We also help those in need of cataract surgeries.”
Nearly 70 vendors are preparing to set up at the Rendezvous Center at the Goshen County Fairgrounds for the annual event on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m., and will run through 3 p.m.
The bazaar typically brings in vendors from Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, and services more than 1,000 customers. A $1 admittance fee will be charged, and there will be door prizes given throughout the day from some participating vendors, and there also will be a 50/50 raffle held.
“We have quite a few new vendors who have signed up to participate,” Zweibel said. “One signed up that hand paints customized shoes, one who makes her own body bars with just four ingredients. There are homemade candles and melts, clay pot people, planters, candy dishes and jewelry.” She added, “There is a new booth offering different kinds of wreaths, and also DSI (Diversified Service Incorporated) will be bringing crafts that their clients have made.”
Val Grant, who is a past district president, oversees the concessions that will be serving various items for those attending the bazaar.
“We will be offering chili, chicken noodle soup, hot dogs, nachos, chili nachos, chili dogs and cookies,” Grant said.
She was a little concerned about the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday but is sure locals will still support the bazaar.
Area residents are usually good about attending this event, it’s been popular for many years from western Nebraska, to around Goshen and Platte County, Grand added.
Lions Club also sponsors Miss Merry Christmas, who resides over the Bazaar. This year Onalise Albaugh is the young woman to earn the title. She was chosen out of six who vied for the honor. Five from Torrington, and one from Lingle-Fort Laramie High School.
“I was really impressed by the candidates this year,” said Grant. “They all were very active, out-going, good students and volunteer with their communities.”
Albaugh is a senior at Torrington High School and looks forward to graduation and heading to Chadron State College to major in elementary education.
“When filling out my application for Miss Merry Christmas, I saw the chance to become more involved with my community and I wanted to take that opportunity,” Albaugh said. Her duties are to participate in the bazaar, Christmas parade, and help in different places as Santa meets with children of the community.
Her parents are Ashely and David Albaugh.
Albaugh participates in volleyball at THS, and track. She said, “I love to run.”
She is also in student council, president of her class and National Honor Society.
Albaugh will be at the Holiday Bazaar during the whole day on Saturday.