WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Though restrictions are easing, a popular summer bazaar in our area has been canceled as a precaution for coronavirus. Organizers say it will impact this year’s funding for the church.
“This is in many ways, more than one, many ways, a historic year. The pandemic of course and this is all part of that,” Father Joe Verespy, pastor of Saint Nicholas Church said.
Father Verespy says he can’t remember a year when the Saint Nicholas Church summer bazaar was canceled.
“I think one weekend they had rain for three nights, but it wasn’t canceled. I mean things were curtailed,” Father Verespy said.
The three-day food and fun-filled event at the Wilkes-Barre church attracts thousands of people. Father Verespy says it’s a great opportunity to bring people together but he says the summer is just too uncertain of a time, especially in regards to social distancing guidelines.
“If we’re limited to maybe 250 people, we have that many volunteers you know,” Father Verespy said.
He says it’s been canceled to protect everyone involved.
“You know we have young people, but we have a lot of elderly people who are workers and volunteers and would they be comfortable coming out, you know, in a large crowd? Would people be comfortable coming to be a patron of the bazaar too?” Father Verespy said.
Not only is the bazaar a crowd favorite, it’s also the church’s largest fundraiser, raising about $90,000 a year.
“Which we really in a way, kind of depend on to keep things going. Well we’re not going to have it this year,” Father Verespy said.
But he says he has hope.
“But somehow, it’ll all work out,” Father Verespy said.
The annual bazaar was set for mid July. Father Verespy says the church is still looking at alternative fundraising events in the fall.