Masson’s business card laying on one of her earth-toned pottery pieces. She displays finished items in a sunny room in her basement. PHOTO by Keeley Larson

Behind the Bazaar

Efforts behind Ennis’ 47th Annual Holiday Bazaar

Lynn Foreman, president of Ennis Senior Center’s Board of Directors, did not want to see the Holiday Bazaar fade away after the Madison Valley Woman’s Club stopped hosting two years ago after decades of sponsorship. The Woman’s Club suggested the Senior Center take over the Bazaar, and with Foreman being president of the Senior Center’s Board and a chairperson for the Bazaar, the combination was serendipitous. 

“Because I was the President of the Senior Center Board, the Bazaar came with me,” Foreman said.

Fundraising wise, it worked out well. The Woman’s Club gets fundraising help from Nearly New and passing the Bazaar over gave the Senior Center its own opportunity to raise money. Donations for coffee and cookies offered at the entrance and proceeds from a $5 lunch price for attendees went to the Senior Center.

Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Nov. 30, 400-450 people visited Ennis’ Holiday Bazaar. At the main entrance of the elementary school, people were given pamphlets about the Senior Center with a raffle ticket stub attached. If the number on the stapled ticket matched the number of a Bazaar item, the person with the corresponding ticket stub would win a prize, donated by the vendor. Without having to be present to win or waiting until the end to learn who won, the door prizes provided instant gratification.

The hardest part, Foreman said, was getting all the volunteers needed to make the event a success. Foreman was in charge of rounding up people to volunteer, which was made difficult by the holiday weekend. In the past, she had talked to vendors about moving the Bazaar to a different weekend, but the consensus was that people have come to expect the Bazaar right after Thanksgiving. This way, it lines up with the Christmas Stroll, early Christmas shopping and Small Business Saturday, providing a weekend full of holiday events.

“This year we were very fortunate because we had eight high school students who helped us out as well with the setup and take down,” Foreman said. Additionally, Woman’s Club members, Senior Center volunteers and Board members helped with set up, greeting and serving lunch. Community members, like Sue Welna, independently devoted their time.

Welna was at the Bazaar all day Saturday. “It was a busy day!” she said. She greeted guests at the main entrance, handed out Senior Center brochures and informed attendees about the community benefits of the Senior Center. She worked in a group of three with two other Susans and they would rotate shifts so each would be able to browse around the Bazaar and purchase their favorite items.

Welna’s choices included a gnome from the Trinity Church booth and a wreath from Harrison School. “They’re just beautiful wreaths!” she said.

Many vendors have participated in the Bazaar consistently. One woman came all the way from Wisdom, Montana, and many come from Dillon or Bozeman. “We do attract quite a variety of people who want to participate in selling their items,” Foreman said. Shirley Storey Masson was one of the vendors that has been attending the Holiday Bazaar for years.

Masson brings about 300 pottery items to the Bazaar and was quite grateful for the help of the high school students, and her husband, during set up. She gets her clay in bulk from the Archie Bray near Helena, fires items in her garage and stains in her unfinished basement, which serves as her studio. “That’s why I have to stay in good shape because I gotta’ come up the stairs and through the doors and out to the garage,” she said.

At 40 years old, Masson decided to start this artistic endeavor, always thinking she would enjoy making pottery, but had to raise her kids and own a bowling alley first. Now, she has been creating since then for 46 years. 

Live music by the Lucky Valentines, a duo from Fort Benton, swelled through the gymnasium, a first-time offering this year. Masson’s pottery was displayed on the bleachers and people weaved in and out of the elementary school, greeted by Welna and others. After the event, praise for Foreman’s efforts and involvement was vast. Her name was mentioned by a variety of people as someone who should be featured for all she has done for the Bazaar and the Senior Center.

“She has put her heart and soul into that Senior Center,” Sandi Pfau, Madison County resident, said.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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