Eesti Elu
The end of a 20 year tradition…. (2)
Archived Articles 29 May 2009 Ellen LeivatEesti Elu
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Will HIIGELBASAAR be missed?

Or more pertinently - who will miss HIIGELBASAAR the most? The donators? The volunteers? The organizing committee? Or the customers?

The donators are definitely saddened by the demise of HIIGELBASAAR. For 20 years running Estonian families in Toronto have been able to purge their households of all those unnecessary, extraneous, no longer needed items and for a good cause to boot! "What do we do now?" - is the oft-recurring question from donators. Hang on to stuff in the hopes that another group might come along and start up a new giant recycling machine the likes of HB? A group motivated by a good cause, undeterred by hard work and astute enough to realize that there is good money to be made from other people's used items. Anything is possible! Free consultation and advice available from AKEN!

What about the volunteers? Some have been helping out for two decades, some only for a year or two but all have marvelled at the sense of camaraderie and cooperation, the feeling of community and working for a common cause which evolves amongst the volunteers as the making of the annual bazaar weaves its way through its various stages to fruition. It is that sense of camaraderie that will be missed most of all by the volunteers. That and the prerogative of the volunteers to pre-shop at the bazaar! And were the pre-shoppers afforded lower prices than the shopping public? Not on your life! “Remember, it’s for a good cause” was the oft-repeated reminder during the ongoing good-natured pre-shopping activity.

Seriously saddened and genuinely gladdened! In other words conflicted! That is how the members of the organizing committee of HIIGELBASAAR feel about ending their much-loved and much-beloved 20-year fundraising activity. Determined to go out with a bang, the committee members worked hard to make the final bazaar as successful as possible. And successful it was and beyond expectation! $17,500 earned during the course of 5 hours! Will the committee members miss HIIGELBASAAR? A resounding yes! Will they miss the backbreaking work? A resounding no!

But perhaps the biggest loss will be felt by the faithful customers of HIIGELBASAAR. Why? Why? Why? Why are you ending our favourite rummage sale? That was the question of the day when a sampling of shoppers was quizzed on the day of the final bazaar. Tony, who was first in line at 5 a.m., Evelyn, who arrived at 5:30 a.m. and Lynn and Cora who were third in line at 6:15 a.m. all expressed dismay about the ending of “the best sale in the land!”

Well-known crime writer James Dubro, author of “Mob Rule”, the first book about the mafia in Ontario, was found browsing in the book department, where he has, in previous years, found his own books for sale. Dubro, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 13 years and has been coming to the sale for as many years, described the loss of HB as “the end of a huge tradition in the neighbourhood!” Another shopper, Lionel, said that he looks forward to the sale all year and that, this year, he had put aside $500 to spend on treasures at the bazaar. Happy news to gladden the hearts of the sales staff!

In contrast to this was first-time shopper Ants Aug who hails all the way from Burnaby B.C. “I have been reading about the bazaar on the EE website for years and have always wanted to come and check it out.” By a stroke of good luck, Aug’s wish came true when he was invited to attend a confirmation service in Toronto on the following day.

One local, Caroline, who has been shopping at HB for 12 years, even took it upon herself to thank the organizers of the bazaar on behalf of the St Andrew’s neighbourhood community. „This is more than a sale“ enthused Caroline, „it’s a community event, a place to get together with your family and friends!“ Caroline, like many of the shoppers interviewed gave high praise to the sales staff. „There’s so many of you and everyone is so cheerful and helpful - what are you guys high on?“ was one customer’s comment.

High praise was also directed at the quality of the merchandise; in fact, the word „treasures“ was heard repeatedly. „Good stuff, good prices, well organized“ was another grateful shopper’s comment. But the highest of all praise was reserved for the bake sale. „I love the baked goods,” said the same Caroline mentioned above „I bring Tupperware containers for the „pirukad“ so that I can freeze them and enjoy them for months to come!“ No argument there!

Rave reviews all around! What a great way to end a 20 year tradition! An appreciative AKEN committee extends a „hiigel“ thank you to all the donors, volunteers and customers who have made HIIGELBASAAR the hugely successful event that it has been for 20 years. What next for AKEN committee? The next fundraising event is in the planning stages – a huge New Year’s Eve celebration encompassing all three halls at Estonian House! Profits to benefit Esto House!
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