Thirty years of turkey pies


They come for the pies.

Turkey pies to be exact – more than 2,200 were on sale at Saturday’s Kountry Kitchen Bazaar at the Point Clark Community Centre. This year marked the 30th consecutive bazaar and the yearly tradition shows no signs of slowing down.

“It’s the turkey pies that bring people here, but we give great value on everything for your money,” says organizer Jan Kelly. “The vendors and the variety make it a well-known success.”

Kountry Kitchen Bazaar volunteers Marion Donnelly, left, and Sheila Murray hold two of the many pies on sale Saturday morning at the Pine River Community Centre. (Kiel Edge photo)

In addition to turkey pies, the bazaar offers homemade crafts, seasonal decorations, quilts, preserves and treats – anything you can think of can likely be found there. The Pine River UCW oversees the event and all the money earned – approximately $8,000 annually – is distributed throughout the community by the group.

The first bazaar was born at a Pine River UCW meeting in 1977.  A small sale was organized, to highlight the many talents of the church members. The first official bazaar was in 1978, in the basement of the Pine River Church. The most popular item: homemade donuts.

After several years, the event expanded, allowing for more preserves, baked goods and quilts. The bazaar soon outgrew the chuch and moved into the Reid’s Corner hall across from the church.

In 1984, the first batch of turkey pies was baked. Two-hundred and fifty pies sold out in 30 minutes. Soon after, the bazaar moved to the Point Clark Community Centre and the Saturday before Thanksgiving was chosen as its permanent date.

Although it just a two-hour event, preparation for the bazaar is a year-round job. Craftwork begins in January with UCW meetings. Each spring, UCW members plant extra in their gardens to ensure there will be food left over for pies and preserves.

Three weeks before the event, community members gather and start making the pies. One day is given to fruit pies. Two days are set aside for the turkey pies and an additional day is used to create a variety of baked goods. With more than 150 volunteers, the bazaar helps bring the entire community together.

“It’s all worthwhile,” says Kelly. “The fellowship and new friendships that result from (preparing for) the bazaar make it well worth the effort.”

This year, commemorative bookmarks and towels were on sale. The UCW ladies also tried their hands at making truffles. Kelly says many of the volunteers take part year after year and some of the original members are still helping.

With another successful year under their belts, the volunteers have a few days to relax. Next year, Kelly says, promises to be better than even.

“We want to say thanks to all the volunteers,” Kelly says. “And to the whole community for a job well done.”