BY ANN SIOCK
Waverly Community House’s centennial year continues with the annual Artisans’ Marketplace, which this year will take place outdoors on some of the site’s 6 acres.
Set for Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the market will “be like many of the Christmas shows you would see in cities or in Europe,” said Maria Wilson, executive director of the Comm, 1115 North Abington Road. Organizers are doing what they can with the show while still adhering to coronavirus-related rules and guidance from state and federal agencies, she noted.
“This is an exciting year for us. … We are really very grateful that we can continue to offer mission-driven programs that support the Comm,” Wilson said.
Organizers were determined to stay true to their mission as the center celebrates its 100th anniversary and aimed to continue providing community programs and support.
“(The Comm) has really withstood every economic and social cycle and upheaval for 100 years,” Wilson said. “And it’s remained strong, which really speaks to the original plan of the founders.”
This year’s artisan’s market has much to offer, including a specialty coffee vendor, hand-painted textiles, gourmet food items, a boutique perfumery specializing in candles and other curated gifts, gourmet chocolates, wreaths and other greenery, artwork in various mediums from classically trained artists and much more. And the market’s most popular vendor, St. Nick’s, which specializes in handmade Christmas and Santa decorations, will return.
The event is a juried market, meaning that artisans had to apply and then be invited to attend. Only artisans with quality, original and handmade products are allowed, Wilson said, “so whatever you buy at the show will really be a unique gift item that can only be purchased from the vendor you choose to patronize.”
“There’s a wide variety (of vendors) from crystal to people who hand-make masks to food and wine vendors,” said Aimee Staros, special events and program director for the Comm.
The market also will host a food truck from Constantino’s Restaurant called Tino’s Original Roadside Café, which will offer a special menu for the show. Around 50 bakers also will make homemade goods to sell at the event.
“I’m excited for everything,” Staros said. “It’s going to be brand new to the Comm and to this area, and we’re going to put a festive twist on it. We’re going to have holiday music piped throughout the grounds, we’re going to have a professional lighting company come in and, you know, (kick) it up a notch. … Even though it’s already November and it’s outdoors and may be a little chilly, we want everybody to feel warm and happy, in a good mood and joyful.”
Entry times will be staggered to limit crowd size, but there will not be a time limit for how long visitors can spend in the market. Guests and workers must wear face masks.
Organizers also are asking guests to buy tickets in advance online at waverly comm.org, although they also will be for sale at the door. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $8 for ages 60 and older and children 12 and younger.
The artisan market is one of the Comm’s biggest annual fundraisers, and events like it help the Comm provide affordable community programs while also keeping its doors open. The community has stepped up to help this year; the Comm has partnered with Waverly Twp., got a grant from the Lackawanna County Council of the Arts and has sponsors including Toyota of Scranton, Waverly General Store and Country Values Financial.
In this unusual year, the Comm has given senior citizens a chance to socialize amid heightened restrictions by offering workout classes and open gym hours while strictly adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health guidelines. It has extended its child care services beyond early childhood education and after-school programs to also give students a place to attend school online while their parents are at work.
Wilson pointed out that “the Comm is all about continuing to serve.”
“While you look at the building and the doors may be locked, in many cases because of the pandemic, if you take an X-ray to (it,) you’ll see inside there’s 42 kids spread out throughout the building at tables 6 feet apart with headphones, on their computers, attending school so their parents can go to work,” Wilson said. “What’s happening on the inside every day is really what the Comm is all about.”
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