The knitters and crafters of Port Hope United Church Women meet on Tuesday mornings year round to prepare for their annual Christmas Fayre. Working on fare for the Fayre are a very talented crew, including Janet Tedford, Sandra Knowles, Sheila Stiles, Dorien Quirt, Lois Brown, Linda Harvey, Jean Menaul, Gloria Schumacher, Val Nippard, and Donna Fulford. There are many more knitters, crafters, seamstresses, canners, bakers, and cooks not pictured in this photo. With so much inventory, the crew is looking for lots of buyers on Saturday, November 19, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
After holding the annual Christmas Fayre on Wednesdays for 83 years, Port Hope United Church has made a big change.
This year’s Christmas Fayre will be on a Saturday for the first time.
The Fayre was held on Wednesdays for 81 years, up to 2019.
Then the pandemic wreaked havoc on the plans for the 82nd Fayre in 2020 – no actual fayre was held, but many items were sold by request when regular shoppers asked for their usual items.
Notices were posted online with photos of some of the goods which also attracted buyers by appointment. In 2021, the Fayre returned to its Wednesday time slot for its 83rd year, with strict Covid protocols in place.
Covid also reduced the number of shoppers, so after the Wednesday date, the Fayre was repeated on the following Sunday afternoon.
Due to many comments about the difficulty for working people to attend the Wednesday Fayre, and after much consideration, the United Church Women of Port Hope reached the decision to move the Fayre to Saturday, November 19 for its 84th year.
“It wasn’t easy to break with such a long-standing tradition, but we finally decided that it was necessary,” says Valerie Nippard, co-chair of the event, along with Lois Brown.
Another change in tradition has also been made for two reasons. For most of the 84 years, a luncheon was offered with the Fayre.
First, Covid put an end to food service because of the potential for health risks, and secondly the Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank now occupies much of the space in the church where the luncheons were once served.
But the famous “fare” offered at the “Fayre” will remain the same, most of which is hand-made by the United Church Women (UCW).
Hand-knit goods – hats, scarves, mittens, socks and more – are always popular.
Various craft items will be offered, including Christmas greeting cards and packaging for gift-giving.
Holiday home décor for indoors and outside will be available, such as wreaths, Christmas stockings, Christmas tree decorations, and centre-pieces. Most popular are the fresh-baked Christmas treats: cookies, cakes, pies and delicatessen items like jams and jellies.
The UCW looks after the disbursement of funds raised by the Fayre, with proceeds going to the Church, local community organizations to serve needs in the Port Hope area, as well as wider (national and international) needs.
There are three such events taking place in Port Hope on Saturday, November 19. As well as the United Church Fayre, Port Hope High School is hosting an Arts and Crafts Fair, and the Lions Club is having a Christmas Market.
Port Hope United Church is located at 34 South Street, one block north of Walton at Brown Street. The Fayre hours are 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Despite the changes in the annual event, the church group has decided to keep one long-standing tradition in place. They continue to use the word “Fayre” – a pseudo-archaic spelling of Fair, giving the event that “old-tyme” feeling.