Every year, my congregation flexes its volunteering muscles and teams up for the church's Fall fair. Throughout the year, there is a steady trickle of stuff coming in, only to be chucked away in the basement. This trickle becomes a river when Fall comes, and on the second Saturday (today, that is!) in November, everything is dragged out into the light, put on display and sold or made into prizes in the lotteries.
The weeks before are not only filled with the organizing of stuff delivered to us, we also go out to all the stores in the parish to ask them to contribute, and they do! Some things are really beautiful, others crap. But usually, even the crap gets sold.
The days before the fair are a frenzy of activity. Not only are we, the 15 or so working in the parish, placed behind different tables and stalls, the small army of 60-70 little old ladies, not-so-old ladies, teenagers, older men etc. are also getting ready. They bicker over the best spots, arrange the dried flowers in the prettiest way possible, make hundreds of sandwiches and are simply both a blessing and a nuisance at the same time. But never a curse.
On the great day, we gather in the parish hall for a short prayer, then the bravest of the lot open the doors for the fifty or so people already lining up. During the hours after the opening, hundreds follow. The best stuff goes quickly, except for the really cool things that are sold at the auction which rounds up the day.
Last year, someone noted that even if we do collect lots of money at the Fall fair, it's probably not very much if the money that the organizing of all of this costs us is drawn from the sum, but this year, another person noted that the congregation actually gives a lot of money too, through all the work of its workforce.
Anyway, it has been a great day, I'm as tired as tired can be, and I know that this day will come to a lot of good for people who are in need. Tonight, the people of my beloved parish should sleep well.