When Calvary Episcopal Church holds its annual Advent Festival Bazaar on Saturday, it will use the occasion to show off its renovated parish hall as well as sell its popular “church mice.”
The community bazaar will feature gourmet and home-baked goods, a children’s shop and art room, books and crafts. There also will be a traditional ham breakfast. Proceeds from the bazaar will benefit outreach programs in Columbia.
But the stars of the bazaar are the church mice — 3-inch-high mice made of felt and dressed in colorful outfits. The church mice bring in between 40 percent and 45 percent of the profits. They range in price from $20 to 25.
The Rev. Fred Thayer said that there’s a big demand for the mice, and in the past many people have waited for hours to buy one. “One year my wife and I arrived at the parish hall at 5:45 a.m., and there were people already lined up for the mice,” Thayer said.
Ele Dockweiler has been making mice for many years and is one of the church’s “mouse experts.” She said it creates good fellowship among the women who dedicate time and energy into making the fuzzy little creatures.
“You’re using your skills to get to know your church ladies, and proceeds go to outreach programs in Columbia,” Dockweiler said.
During the bazaar, an open house will show off remodeling and renovations of the parish hall and foyer. The renovation project, which began this year, added more classroom and meeting space to the church, made it handicap-accessible and consolidated offices. Renovations and expansions added 4,000 square feet to the church, Thayer said.
Guided tours will be available. After the tours, visitors will be able to enjoy music in the sanctuary.
“I get to meet and greet a lot of people each year,” Thayer said. “I always have a lot of fun.”
A liturgical procession during the 9 a.m. mass Sunday will be held to bless the renovations.