It’s bigger than a yard sale, smaller than a department store and it’s been in business 20 years longer than Todd Farm’s seasonal flea market. And it all happens every November at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Fall Fair – this year, Saturday, November 12, 2016 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
People from the North Shore of Boston have been flocking to this historic event since 1960 when St. Paul’s initiated the fair as a way to raise additional support for the church. Some people have made it a perennial pilgrimage ever since. The trip down memory lane is a long journey for some of St. Paul’s longest attending parishioners who remember the earliest days of the fair. “It started with Rector Leo Barrett, Jr. (1957 – 1969) in the back yard of the church during the summer, once the corn came. We had a barbeque of chicken and corn, done by Nason’s caterers of Boxford. They set up booths and sold their goods. In the late 60’s the fair moved indoors and was held in November. It started out small and grew to what it is today,” says Patsy Brown, St. Paul’s Church historian.
When the doors open at 9 a.m., the scene is reminiscent of Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides, except that wholesale dealers take on the faces of excited brides – making a dash to be first in line for jewelry and clothing. Take a break for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., then continue shopping. There are thousands of selections. It’s a virtual treasure trove of great finds at low prices!
“St. Paul’s is blessed to have the energy and efforts of dozens of volunteers every year – including community members as well as parishioners – who make our fair one of the most historic and successful church fairs in the North Shore year after year,” says Rector Martha Hubbard. “The fair helps support the many ministries of St. Paul’s, including our Among Friends meal program for anyone in need of a meal and fellowship, our numerous 12-step programs that meet weekly at St. Paul’s, as well as our global outreach programs such as our El Salvador partnership, among several other initiatives.”