St. Nicholas Parish kicks off annual bazaar, relies on aging volunteer staff
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- "Without this... this church might not be here."
As thousands pour through tents at St. Nicholas Parish's annual bazaar, church volunteers are in go-mode.
"You may have some sore feet, some sore muscles and some stuff at the end of the night, you think about, okay, what did I do? And it helps you out later on because it makes you feel really good," said 2018 Co-Chair Bill Langan.
He says it's taking around 200-300 volunteers to pull off the event.
"I can't ask for better workers. When they come, they work hard," he said.
But there is something they struggle with.
"We're trying to get the younger generation to connect with the bazaar, and not only that, but it's hard to get those kids to connect with the church," said Langan.
He says the bazaar that's been around for decades, is one of the largest in the area.
Langan adds that it's the biggest source of income for the church, bringing in anywhere from 100-200,000 dollars, depending on the weekend's weather.
"I was taught by an older generation to go through this, and that young lady is gone, and she was one of my mentors there. The guy that I worked with at the potato pancake booth... he's gone. We lost him this year," said Langan.
Hanging above the potato pancake stand, with a line around the block, is a sign that reads "In memory of Gary Davis"
"It's been rough, but I know he'd want me to be here and take this over and make sure it's been done right," said 27-year-old Meg Davis, who runs the potato pancake booth.
She lost her dad, and one of the bazaar's key leaders, this February.
She's been volunteering at the booth since age 12, and was the bazaar's youngest co-chair when she was just 21 years old.
"I just saw my parents' passion for doing it and I wanted to help them out, and I loved this church because it's been there for me, and I've been here for all my sacraments," said Davis.
She also says it's tough to get people out and volunteer.
Some of the schools help out by sending over kids who need community service hours.
"Kids today, I feel, want to kind of pave their own path and make something their own, and sometimes it's really difficult to do that in something that's been around for quite a few years," she shared. "If we don't start getting kids more heavily involved, then it's going to become smaller and smaller until it's basically non-existent."
The St. Nicholas Parish Bazaar features food, drinks, games, raffles, and live music evenings through Saturday, July 21st at the church.