Annual Winter Charity Bazaar Set to Have Russian Flavor

Annual Winter Charity Bazaar Set to Have Russian Flavor

Published: November 23, 2011 (Issue # 1684)

“There’s a certain picture of Russia abroad,” says Taisia Ivanova, the manager of the Russian stall at this year’s upcoming annual Winter Bazaar. “It might be nice to make the picture bigger and show something else. Not simply matryoshkas, which are known all over the world.

The Winter Bazaar is a charity fund-raising event hosted by the St. Petersburg International Woman’s Club (IWC). Founded in 1986, the St. Petersburg IWC is primarily a social club for expatriate women. Many English-speaking Russian women, such as Ivanova, are members as well.

This year’s bazaar will have a grand raffle, a cultural entertainment program and a playroom for children. A global host of stalls, each devoted to a different country, will sell jewelry, arts and crafts, holiday gifts and international cuisine.

“Our bazaar is really international. But it’s being held in Russia and there was going to be no Russian stall this year,” says Ivanova, who is preparing Russian items such as traditional felt necklaces and felt Christmas tree angel decorations to sell.

“Felt is a very traditional material, like felt winter boots,” says Ivanova.

Other gifts include 100-percent organic handmade soaps in holiday colors and handmade souvenirs.

Ivanova said she would also love to include “carved wooden decorations and special embroidered towels,” at her stall, if time and money were no object.

When not participating in IWC events, Ivanova’s main work is still international — she is the founder and director of the English Communication Club in St. Petersburg, known as ENCC. ENCC organizes weekly themed classes for Russians to better develop English language skills. Classes range from general café meetings to special Sunday city-guide sessions and journalism writing classes.

The IWC and the Winter Bazaar are deeply important to her.

“Many charities used to be run by foreigners here,” says Ivanova. “But now it’s becoming a really common thing for young people. Many volunteer or start donating.” Ivanova says she had been touched by how many people have donated, both financially and with their time, to making items for her stall.

“I think it’s great that people from all over are giving. A friend from the Far East is donating.”

“Charity is easy,” says Ivanova. “Many people think it’s difficult. But fifty rubles, a hundred rubles, they’re not big sums, but if you do it and someone else does it…suddenly it’s not a little thing.”

The IWC holds both monthly social meetings and organizes charity fundraising events year-round. Events include a charity cruise, a quiz night and weekly Peter’s Teas coffee mornings. The IWC frequently raises money to donate medicine, beds, heaters and other necessary supplies for hospitals, children’s homes and institutions around St. Petersburg. The Winter Bazaar is the club’s biggest fundraising event.

The Winter Bazaar takes place from

12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Hotel Astoria, 39 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa. M. Sennaya Ploshchad/Sadovaya.

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