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The Bazaar and Fancy Fair in aid of the Roman Catholic Church Building Fund opened in the Town Hall to-day. The weather was anything but propitious, the ’drizzling rain interfering to some extent with the attendance, which, however, was still sufficiently large to be encouraging. His Worship the Mayor appeared on the platform shortly after 2 o’clock, and said that he had been asked by the promoters of the Bazaar to perform the opening ceremony. This he considered was no less than a compliment to himself than to the people of Ashburton. He trusted the public would regard the matter in the same light as he did, and endeavor to make the Bazaar a success, such as would meet the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. It was true those promoters wanted their money, but they did not want it for themselves, and they did not want it for nothing. They were prepared to give in exchange for it the really beautiful and useful articles there so profusely displayed before them. In supporting the Bazaar, therefore, they would be helping forward the church building fund, while securing for themselves mementos of the really excellent Bazaar opened that day. The ladies who had contributed to the stock of articles were deserving of all praise. Their work had been a labor of love, but it was a labor nevertheless. He thought this was the first Roman Catholic Bazaar ever held in Ashburton. Other churches had held Bazaars, and successful ones, but this was the first effort of the kind amongst the Catholics. The latter had been liberal supporters of the other Bazaars, and he trusted that they would in return receive the patronage of all those whose efforts they had been so ready to assist. He had had a good deal to do with collecting money in his time for church purposes, and he had always found the Catholics ready helpers. It was not usual to make long speeches on those occasions, and he was not good at making long speeches in any case. He would, therefore, conclude his but indifferently expressed but well inentioned remarks to a conclusion, and had very great pleasure in declaring that Bazaar duly opened. His Worship’s speech was received with applause, and the young ladies then busied themselves in soliciting shillings from the visitors for a raffle (special permission to hold which, under the Act, had been obtained from the powers that be). We must not omit to mention that a number of pianoforte selections were played by various ladies at intervals throughout the day. We have one suggestion to make to the committee. It would add immensely to the appearance of the hall if a sack or two of sawdust were spread upon the floor. This would obliterate the traces of dirty boots, deaden sound, and heighten the general effect very considerably. It is not too late to adopt the suggestion even now.

The Hall presents a very pretty appearance, being most tastefully decorated with flags and banners and a plentiful supply of evergreens. Over the stage in illuminated characters is the motto “ Success to the Farmers,” while beneath is “Advance Ashburton.” At the opposite end of the Hall, above the main entrance, is the illuminated motto “ God Speed the Plough.” Running round three sides of the Hall are the stalls laden with pretty things of every imaginable kind, including toys to delight the juveniles and an enormous assortment of articles adapted for presents for those of maturer years. Some of the fancy needlework is also very pretty, and a worsted work picture, “ The finding of Moses in the Bulrushes," is quite a gem in its way. In the centre of the Hall is a giant Christmas tree, its branches prettily decorated and hung with presents both pretty and useful. At the top of the Hall, in front of the stage, is the refreshment counter, presided over by Mesdames M'Tigue and Fitzgerald, and the Misses M. M‘Tigue, S. Butler, and Kissane. Here an array of delicacies is spread of the most tempting kind. The following ladies act as stall-keepers : Mesdames McDonald, Wm. Adams, O’Reilly, T. Dudson and Brankin, and the Misses Butler (2), Kate McDonald, Ivess and Bourke. The Misses Elkinson, Didmouth and M. Maloney, of Temuka, also assisted. Father Walsh, of Lyttelton, was amongst the visitors. The Bazaar will remain open until the 23rd inst., and we have no doubt will be well patronised by all classes of the community. Of course the Rev. Father Coffey as one of the chief promoters of the Bazaar was present to superintend the arrangements. We may add that many of the articles on exhibition were specially imported from the marts of France and Germany.

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Bibliographic details

BAZAAR AND FANCY FAIR., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 539, 20 January 1882

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BAZAAR AND FANCY FAIR. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 539, 20 January 1882