TORRINGTON – Over 50 vendors from near and far gathered at the Goshen County Rendezvous Center in Torrington this last weekend for the Torrington Lions Club An- nual Holiday Bazaar.
The holiday bazaar has been organized by the Torrington Lions Club for several years as one of the club’s major fundraisers for the year.
This year, the event featured hundreds of crafted items from local vendors.
“It went pretty good, even with the weath- er,” Amy Bomgardner from the club said.
“At about 9 a.m. when the doors opened, not much was happening so a lot of vendors were getting scared and afraid (for the turn out) but come 10 a.m. traffic started coming out and it was just constant from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”
The majority of Goshen County and the surrounding area was under a winter storm warning, but the weather had very little im- pact on the annual event.
“We had six vendors call in, because of the weather,” Bomgardner explained. “Some of them were coming in from like Alliance and Scottsbluff. The vendors that were further east, I felt like some of those called in because of the weather. They decided not to come.”
The bazaar has had vendors from Cheyenne, JayEm, Wheatland, Alli- ance and Gering just to name a few.
Many of the products sold during the bazaar were handcrafted by the ven- dors themselves. “There was freeze dried coffee and I had never heard of that in my life,” Bomgardner said. “But it was pretty good. There was honey, tumblers, wreaths. There were home- made handkerchief wreaths, and they were pretty cool.”
The Lions Club also held a gift-wrap- ping booth where they would wrap Christmas gifts for the public for a free-will donation.
“There were a couple of wood people there,” Bomgardner said. “That’s usu- ally our thing, we hardly ever have anybody that does wood. This time we had three or four of them.”
There were gifts for everyone at this year’s event.
“We had some clothing items, but not much,” Bomgardner told the Telegram. “There was lots of jewelry and there was a lady there that sold birdhouses.”
Event goers could also find the per- fect Christmas gift for their furry com- panions too.
“There was even a person that sold homemade dog treats,” Bomgardner said. “There was quiet the variety going on.”
The vendors at the bazaar paid for their eight by 10-foot space in advance because vendor spacing was limited.
“We just actually lowered our price this past year to $50,” Bomgardner said. “It used to be $60.”
The event has been held at the Gos- hen County Rendezvous Center at the
fairgrounds since the drastic increase in vendor numbers over the years.
“It’s kind of hard to get into the ren- dezvous center sometimes. But I know the rendezvous center is pretty good about us (The Lions Club) overtaking the center after Thanksgiving because they know we always try to do our holi- day bazaar during that time.”
The cost of the booth rental helps cover the club cost of renting the rendezvous center out, according to Bomgardner.
“Whatever we have left over, we use for the community and whatever we did for the bazaar,” Bomgardner ex- plained. “Like this time around we had some of the 4-H kids there.”
Event goers had a $1 entry fee, paid at the door, and hourly raffles throughout the day. The entry fee entered those in attendance in a drawing to receive a door prize, donated from a participating vendor.
“Next year we are hoping to get a Santa Claus so some of our funds might go towards that,” Bomgardner added. “We really try to take donations more than we try to spend.”
“We had confessions there and so a lot of our money went to that too,” Bomgardner said.
The event hosted live music and a special appearance by Miss Merry Christmas 2023, Josie Houk.
“Miss Merry Christmas greeted peo- ple as they came in,” Bomgardner ex- plained. “She also helped out with the 50/50 raffle this year, which was some- thing new that we did.”
Houk also helped in the gift-wrap- ping station and tearing down the event.
Miss Merry Christmas will make her next appearance on Friday, during the Torrington Christmas Parade.
“The raffle we did at the end of each
hour,” Bomgardner said. “We did a 50/50 raffle, so they can either donate it back or keep it, whatever they want to do. A lot of them donated it back.”
The Lions Club Members put to- gether soups and lunch for the ven- dors and the community members in attendance.
According to their website, there are 40 Lions Clubs in 32 communities in Wyoming with approximately 1,000 members.
Bomgardner has been a member of the Torrington’s Lions Club for a few years now. “The Lions Club is big part of the community. We try to help with people’s sight,” Bomgardner explained. “We actually have three applicants that are going in for eye surgery or need eyeglasses. A lot of people come to us if they need help with eye surgery.”
As with any assistance program, persons must financially qualify for services.
“We have little drop off boxes around the community,” Bomgardner added. “There is one at Pinnacle Bank and there is one at both of the eye clinics and Points West, where people can drop off their old eyeglasses that they have just laying around and we take those, and they will let us recycle them.”
The Lions Club International assists with vision, diabetes, environmental disasters, hunger relief and pediatric cancer, according to their website.
The mission statement of the Lions Club is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.
“If you want to become part of the Lions Club, I suggest getting a hold of any club member and we can help you out,” Bomgardner added. “Our meetings are the 2nd Monday of every month.”