The Bazaar – It’s an Elgin “Tradition”

Elgin Nebraska Antelope County Nebraska Thanksgiving Bazaar St. Boniface 95th annual Elgin Review
Members of the St. Boniface parish work hard days up to - and the day of - the annual bazaar. E-R file photo

St. Boniface Thanksgiving Bazaar to celebrate 95th Year

Elgin Nebraska Antelope County Nebraska The Elgin Review Jessie Reestman
Jessie Reestman
Staff writer

By Jessie Reestman  Staff Writer

The year was 1924, Republican Calvin Coolidge had just been elected the 30th president of the United States, George Gershwin’s, “Rhapsody in Blue” was topping the record charts, Macy’s had launched their first ever Thanksgiving Day Parade and locally, St. Boniface welcomed the masses to its first Thanksgiving Day Bazaar.
By recalling a few other historical events that were taking place at that time, we can get a true perspective of the time and dedication many members of the parish have shown throughout the years to maintain the event.
The St. Boniface annual event will celebrate its 95th anniversary this year and although many changes have occurred over the years, it remains a very successful event.
In 1924, when the bazaar first began, statis-tically only 20 percent of women worked outside the home, compared to today, whereas almost 60 percent of women work outside the home and another 8 percent hold multiple jobs. Despite this and many other family lifestyle changes that have occurred over the years, the parish and its members have always found time to prepare the food, fill the work shifts and welcome the people.
As new members join the parish from outside communities through marriage, they are first astounded by how many people do not celebrate the holiday at home.
One such individual, Peg Schindler Wemhoff shared, “As a transplant to Elgin, I couldn’t believe how many didn’t celebrate at home with their families. But then I came to realize that this is your family! Your church family, your community family, your immediate and extended family.”
Peg’s words are supported by the faithful number of attendees year after year. These folks stand in line, sometimes traveling long distance to attend the time-tested event like former Elginite, Barb Busteed Snyder, who recalled how much she looked forward the meal at Thanksgiving at the Bazaar. “The sauerkraut, sausage and stuffing are my faves!
“At least four generations, probably five have attended from our family. I looked forward to seeing my Busteed cousins and playing pickle cards.
“The smell as one walks in the door is absolutely heavenly. My husband thought the idea of not eating in a home with family was nuts, but now he gets it and enjoys it about as much as the rest of us. I look back and think it was nice that my Mom got a holiday off.”
So whether it is the unforgettable delicious food, the kinship, or a holiday off, the people keep coming, and so the food must be ordered and prepared.
Jenna Thompson, a manager at Wausa lockers stated, “St. Boniface orders approximately 700 pounds of saugsage, 150 lbs in ground meat the rest in rings.” Also included in the meal is 53 sleep-inducing turkeys, 130 lbs of rib meat for their oh-so-famous sauerkraut, 30 gallons of that sauerkraut, 14 double batches of the best dressing you will ever taste, 500 pounds of potatoes, 59 gallons of corn, 12 gallons of cranberries, 1500 pieces of pie and dessert and 1500 dinner rolls.
That my friends, is a whole lot of food, planning, time and dedication.
Over the past 95 years, St. Boniface has created the perfect recipe for a great Thanksgiving celebration. By adding a sprinkle of dedication, a dab of commitment, a heaping helping of pride and a big scoop of love for the church, its members, their guests and tradition, they have kept this event going strong year after year, despite the changing times.
Congratulations St. Boniface on 95 years! Happy Thanksgiving and I hope to see you all at the bazaar.