, Newburyport, MA

July 18, 2013

Christmas comes early in Salisbury

Star of the Sea's annual fair offers crafts, raffles and more


---- — SALISBURY — If Santa were inclined to take a summer vacation, he couldn’t pick a better place than Salisbury this Saturday, when Star of the Sea Catholic Church hosts the Christmas in July Craft Fair.

This is the second year that the parish will host the summer Yuletide harvest, offering crafts, gifts, food and games. Running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a carnival atmosphere that includes a disc jockey, ice cream, balloon animals and thousands of dollars in raffle prizes.

Last year, the fair raised more than $12,000, used to repaint Star of the Sea’s interior, as well as carpet its ground-floor Father Morgan Hall. This year, the Rev. Louis Palmieri has another big project: the replacement of all the double windows in the hall.

“They’re the original windows from when the church was built,” Palmieri said. “They’re iron and set right in the concrete. It’s a huge job, but we need to do it so our kids, who use the hall for Sunday school, can have ventilation. These windows don’t open.”

The hall itself is currently decorated with a winter holiday theme, complete with Santa Claus — aka St. Nicholas — twinkling lights and Christmas trees. Down the center are tables jammed with raffle prizes, and on either side are additional tables to be populated by arts and crafts vendors and their wares.

“We have very, very good craft vendors at the fair,” Palmieri said. “They’ve all come back from last year because they were so successful.”

On the center tables are 70 gift baskets with an array of goodies inside. There are tea baskets, complete with a china tea set, as well as baskets themed for babies, foodies, wine lovers, sports enthusiasts, golf aficionados and more.

There’s a 4-foot-tall Christmas stocking, filled with holiday ornaments, baskets perfect for vacationing by the ocean, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink basket and an “As Seen on TV” basket filled with those mesmerizing contraptions that you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to ordering.

There are even basket baskets.

“They’re Longaberger baskets, and they’re very expensive,” Don Beaulieu said. “There are five large Longaberger baskets that hold two or three smaller Longaberger baskets.”

Beaulieu and fellow parishioners Holly Janvrin and Winnie Reusch make up the committee that worked to organize the baskets, known as the Christmas Elves’ Raffle. All of the baskets and other gifts, Beaulieu said, are donated by Star of the Sea’s generous parishioners.

As wonderful as the gift baskets are, there are also some grand raffle prizes that dazzle. The Santa Claus Raffle includes 55-inch and 39-inch televisions and a PlayStation.

And Mrs. Claus, never to be outdone, has her own raffle that includes two, $260 Red Sox tickets to the July 23 game and a 2-foot-tall, R. John Wright designer teddy bear worth more than $900. First prize is a Bobby Orr autographed print of the iconic photograph of him soaring in glory after scoring the winning goal in the 1970 Bruins Stanley Cup win.

And all are there for the winning through the purchase of tickets. For the gift basket raffle, tickets are $3 for 25 and $5 for 50. The hopeful simply have to drop their tickets in the containers in front of the prizes they desire.

And a few prayers couldn’t hurt.

If you go

What: Christmas in July Craft Fair

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 18 Beach Road, Salisbury