The 111th Annual WCTU Christmas Bazaar

In these scenes from last Friday’s 111th staging of the beloved WCTU Bazaar (clockwise from top left), Terry Henderson filled Janet Williams’ glass; Justin Rader and son, Lincoln, waited eagerly for the turkey and dressing to be served; Salem Abraham offered a brief history of the tradition, but focused this year’s introduction on the present, delivering praise to the hands that are working now to keep the Bazaar alive and well; Cindy Young and Paula Forrest served up smiles and sweets; in the kitchen, Tessa Francis and Lisa Johnson stirred the gravy while Jane’t Schaef scooped up the perfect bit of turkey for Beth Briant’s table.

About 425 pounds of turkey were dished up during the event, over 300 to-go plates were served, and fifty pies—glorious pies—were consumed.

As first envisioned by those pioneering women of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Christmas Bazaar’s benevolent purpose was to raise money for construction of a local library. Those ladies believed some sober reading and a good education might be the perfect antidote to the prevalence of bars here in the early 1900s, and set about righting what they believed was wrong.

Lo, these many years later, the Hemphill County Library still stands, housed in the original WCTU Building, which has since benefited from some serious remodeling and expansion courtesy of the county taxpayers. All proceeds from the Bazaar are still used to buy books and other materials for the library. And the bars? Few and far between. Done and done.

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