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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lights, Colors, Festivity! Really, Really, Really!



“The blog’s been kind of heavy lately,” a reader observed recently. She wasn’t exactly complaining, just taking note, but she was right. The blog has been book-heavy, issue-heavy and opinion-heavy—and don’t we all need a break? I know I do, so here's a light and happy holiday theme.


The cold air, slippery roads and brooding skies of Saturday morning didn’t seem terribly promising, but I was headed indoors, to the Willowbrook, to be part of a bake sale and holiday bazaar to benefit the Leelanau Children’s Center, and indeed the scene there was light and bright and cheery and colorful, even before the doors officially opened to let in the crowds.




The aromas were tantalizing, too, but you’ll just have to imagine the maddeningly delicious smells of all the cookies and other baked treats, along with irresistible hot Tuscan bean soup to be sampled at the Share Care table, where bags of the soup mix were among items offered for sale. Dog Ears Books had a table in the corner, with Share Care for one neighbor and Ammons Maple Syrup for another, so you can just guess some of the shopping I did for myself on Saturday.


Other craftspeople and vendors contributed variety to the bazaar—knits, pottery and objects incorporating Lake Michigan stones.




A couple of Northport’s own photographers were on hand with stunning work. Sharon Kalchik had some of her drawings, as well. Karen Casebeer quickly sold out of her calendars.



Glass blocks with holiday lights inside caught everyone’s eye.


Oh, and I can’t forget the elves! There were lots of elves, and they kept busy all day long, bustling and facilitating and the all-important making-sure-everyone-had-shopping-bags.




The theme of this year’s sale was “Children Matter,” and toward the end of the day we had a sweet musical surprise in the form of two young violinists. For me there was nostalgia in their sweet music, as I played violin myself from fourth grade through high school.



All in all, it was a lively, cheerful and festive day. Everyone commented on how wonderful it was to see so many cars in downtown Northport, and I wrote down (now where did I put that note?) the fervent words of one shopper who expressed the hope and determination of many in the community to keep our K-12 school along with the preschool. Elves, bakers, vendors and shoppers—everyone involved in Saturday’s event—gave witness to this hope and determination. Being part of it felt great. Funds from the bake sale and bazaar (100% of sale of baked goods, 15% of vendors' sales) were directed to the Leelanau Children’s Center through the Leelanau Township Community Foundation.

There are 146 nonprofit organizations in Leelanau County, and too often, it has sometimes seemed to me, county businesses and nonprofit organizations are competing with each other for increasingly scarce Michigan dollars. Is this too heavy for a festive holiday blog? Don’t worry, I’m not going to dive for the emotional cellar today. Quite the contrary. Being immersed in Saturday’s holiday atmosphere at the Willowbrook reignited my hope and enthusiasm for Northport--which, let’s face it, has its problems like any other place on earth--and I’m working on a new idea for how businesses, nonprofits and local residents can come together, as a community, for the mutual good of all. I believe the fates of businesses and families are intertwined, not at odds with each other. What's best for kids is a vital, vibrant community.

8 comments:

Dawn said...

Aww...I like the first photo of the young musicians, with her violin under her arm, look of concentration on their faces...sweet.

P. J. Grath said...

Yes, just seeing them brought back a lot of memories for me.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Nice photos!

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you, Anishinaabekwe.

Gerry said...

I know everyone thinks summer is Northport's best season, but I think the place shows to best advantage in December. It's not at all surprising there would be elves. And angels.

P. J. Grath said...

Angels visible and invisible....

Karen Casebeer said...

Pamela...What a great blog post! Thanks too for the wonderful exposure of my photography. Your blog is like a gathering place for all things Northport. I cannot wait to hear your ideas about how businesses, nonprofits, and local residents can work together to benefit our small, but wonderful village. Karen

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks, Karen. I hope you had as good a time on Saturday as I did. I wouldn't have Northport much larger, but I would like to see more activities involving larger numbers. Ah, yes--more to come....