Colorful craft items, home-baked goodies, fun activities and preserves await visitors to this year’s Pink Ladies Christmas Bazaar and Tea at the Camana Bay Arts and Recreation Centre on Nov. 28.
Always a well-attended start to the holiday season, this year’s event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and presents a wonderful chance for families to peruse stocking stuffers, artisanal gifts, jams and Christmas ephemera. There will also be plant, book and White Elephant stalls.
Selma Silva, coordinator of the organization’s craft group said, “Every item on our stall is handmade, including Christmas-related items such as ornaments, baby and children’s gifts and decorative table runners.”
“The event will follow a similar format as last year when we invited other charities to join us,” said the group’s secretary, Jane Moon.
“We now include the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, Cayman HospiceCare, the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Cayman’s ARK and the Garden Club to give them the opportunity for exposure and fundraising at a major community event,” she said.
Entertainment and afternoon tea
As well as the vast array of items, most made by the Pink Ladies’ craft and country kitchen groups, families can also look forward to performances by the Cayman Prep School Swing Band, the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra, the Jackie Balls Ballet Group and several other groups. For younger visitors, the family-friendly event includes an arts and crafts table, a photo opportunity with Santa in his grotto, cupcake decorating, face and nail painting, henna tattoos and much more.
Included in the $5 ticket price is the chance to sit down for a few minutes and enjoy an afternoon tea (or fruit punch if preferred) which comes with a selection of homemade cakes, sandwiches and cookies.
“In past years we have served over 600 afternoon teas during one bazaar,” noted the teas’ coordinator, Nancy Whitefield.
As always, raffle tickets will be available at the bazaar priced $3 each, two for $5 or 10 for $25.
“We usually raffle off a handmade quilt as our grand prize, but this year thought we’d make something that appealed to children and the child in all of us by making a felt gingerbread house. It’s about 1-cubic-feet and can be stored flat,” said Mrs. Silva. She mentioned that another gingerbread house will be entered in the silent auction.
The Christmas bazaar will hold an extra raffle for a pre-lit 9-foot Christmas tree alongside the regular raffle featuring a range of prizes and vouchers from local businesses.
Easy to spot in a crowd with their pink polo shirts, the corps members and volunteers come from all walks of life and are united in their commitment to making a difference to the community.
The Christmas Bazaar and Tea is the group’s main annual fundraiser.
Jane Moon said, “I cannot underestimate the amount work our Pink Ladies put into the [event]. It is year round work … planning includes arranging the venue and equipment rentals, ticket printing and distribution, and a multitude of other tasks. We set up the whole event ourselves so it’s a long couple of days for our group but we’re more than happy to put in the work so that everyone can enjoy a very special Christmas community event.”
Last year the group raised more than $30,000 for The Pines Retirement Home, school lunches and the Cayman Islands Hospital’s dialysis, mental health and X-ray unit. An additional approximately $4,000 was raised by the group’s partner charities for their chosen initiatives.
According to Mrs. Moon, “In recent years, the Pink Ladies have donated up to $80,000 back into the community from the bazaar and through the operation of the Pink Ladies Coffee Shop at the Cayman Islands Hospital.”
Helping the community
The Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps was set up by Olive Miller and Evelyn Andresen in 1980, mainly to provide voluntary help and raise funds and equipment for the Pines and to the Cayman Islands Hospital.
The group’s volunteer work at the Pines also involves manning the reception and chatting with residents and assisting them in small ways. Members can volunteer at the Lighthouse School assisting the special needs teachers.
The craft group meets on Tuesday mornings. Only basic sewing skills are needed to join and the items produced are sold at events including the Christmas Bazaar.
The Pink Hibiscus Coffee Shop at the Cayman Islands Hospital is the Pink Ladies’ main revenue earner throughout the year and operates a cafeteria serving hot and cold meals and snacks throughout the day to hospital staff, patients and the general public from Monday through Friday.
As well as having around 100 members, the group has about 40 volunteers. Anyone interested in joining the group can contact [email protected] or call 916-1504.