Christmas Comes Early in Mayfield

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MAYFIELD -- Friday's wintry weather was welcome in one part of Lackawanna County where Christmas comes early...

Parishioners in Mayfield are counting on a big crowd this weekend to help them maintain their church, which just saw its 125th birthday.

The church hall is decked and with the bite in the air outside, it certainly feels like Christmas at St. John's Russian Orthodox Church in Mayfield.

"Perfect time to come down and get some Christmas shopping done. And when I came down it was snowing up at my house, so, you know, feels more like Christmas now," said Susan Stokolsa of Uniondale, one of the many shoppers to visit St. John's Christmas Bazaar Friday morning.

The church bazaar consistently comes early, for 25 years now.

"I love it! The prizes are great and they have a big assortment of different things," added Carol Bishop of Simpson.

Outside vendors come in for the three-day bazaar. St. John's parishioners sell things, too. It's the church's biggest annual fundraiser and becomes more crucial every Christmas.

"The way the churches are going, it`s nice to keep them up, support them," Bishop added.

This year, St. John`s congregation needs to budget for a new roof on the church hall They have already paved the parking lot, which parishioners hope will be full all weekend.

"We made over 15,000 pierogi, we have cabbage and noodles, I can`t even tell you how many of those we made. We have a few Greek parishioners, so we have spanakopita which is their spinach and cheese pie," said Alexandra Sorochka, of St. John's Russian Orthodox Church.

The traditional ethnic foods seem to be the biggest draw, a line formed Friday morning only minutes after opening.

"It`s a tradition for the community with the food, you can see the people lining up, as well as this is going to be out 25th anniversary, we`re expecting big crowds," said parishioner Joan Zaleski.

St. John's Christmas Bazaar runs through Sunday at the church hall on Hill Street in Mayfield.

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