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Ella White Christmas Bazaar Saturday at high school

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Members of the Ella White PTO prepare raffle baskets that were donated by classrooms. Each of the 22 baskets has a theme and is worth over $200. Pictured from left to right are PTO President Kristin Barden, and PTO members Meredith Duthler and Crystal Noble.

ALPENA ­– After being canceled last year for the first time since it began in the 1980s, the Ella White Christmas Bazaar is back on. But this year, you could say it’s new and improved.

Now at Alpena High School, the bazaar will be spread out throughout the wide hallways, gyms and cafeteria. What used to be cramped into Ella White Elementary’s narrow hallways will be far more customer-friendly.

In addition, masks are required in all Alpena Public Schools buildings, so people can feel safer while shopping.

“We’re taking all precautions, but we still wanted to have it this year,” said Ella White PTO President Kristin Barden. “Last year was our first year it ever was canceled, since the ’80s.”

At least 60 vendors will be participating in this year’s bazaar. Many of them are returning vendors, but there will also be some new ones, Barden said.

“We’re excited to be back,” Barden said. “We moved it to the high school, for COVID reasons, to give more spacing and social distancing. And, we wanted to try something different, too.”

Also returning this year are the classroom raffle baskets, in which each teacher coordinates a themed gift basket for folks to bid on. Each of this year’s 22 baskets is worth over $200, Barden said, and some are worth even more. Many of them include gift certificates to area restaurants and businesses.

The teachers put a lot of effort into these baskets, and all the proceeds go back to that classroom for supplies and expenses, Barden said.

The traditional PTO bake sale will also be back this year, with all proceeds going to spirit wear for all Ella White students.

“We want people to come out and support our teachers, support the PTO, and all the vendors,” Barden said.

The only thing that will not be offered this year, because of COVID protocols, is the concession stand.

“We will have Biggby coffee, though,” Barden added.

The bazaar will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the raffle basket drawing at 2 p.m. You do not need to be present to win. The PTO members will call the winners after 2 p.m.

Campus Closet will be open at the high school while the bazaar is going on, as well.

Ella White Principal Tom Berriman added that, if all goes well, they may continue to hold the bazaar at the high school in the future. He noted that the spacing improves the flow of customers walking through the bazaar, as well as provides a safer environment. In addition, he said, Alpena High School offers more room for additional vendors in the future.

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