How to prepare for the Holiday Bazaar

Ditto and Johnson spend large amounts of time organizing for the Bazaar.

By Alok Ganguly
Public Relations
& Ethan Walshe

The Holiday Bazaar is a staple of Westford Academy, as it has been for the past 43 years. Hundreds of people venture through the school one morning in December, perusing the wares of various vendors and school clubs. What often goes unappreciated however, is the amount of work and time that goes into planning this event.

The Bazaar is one of the main projects undertaken by the Student Council during the school year. It takes months of prior planning and organization to make sure that the event goes off without a hitch. Advisor Lori Ditto is in charge of overseeing student organization, which is being conducted by senior Glynn Johnson and junior Jackie Joncas. Along with Ditto, math teacher John Nidzgorski helps the students organize the event and deal with all of the vendors who want to have a table during the event.

The group began to plan the event very early this year, and began accepting applications in 2012, a lot earlier than September, which is when they were usually accepted.

Along with the earlier application process came a lot of work over the summer and fall for Johnson and Joncas.

“The Bazaar is my fall sport. Every day after school … I stay after and process applications, kind of figure out where people are going to be, what they need for their spots … there are some days that I get out after thirty minutes and some days I get out after two or three hours, but it’s all to hopefully have the day of be the smoothest it can be,” said Johnson.

As the President and Vice-President of Student Council, Johnson and Joncas are in charge of everything for the Bazaar, and during the school year they spend several hours a week after school, contacting the over 140 vendors about their products, food related issues, and whether or not they meet the necessary requirements for having a table at the Bazaar.

Ditto has a very important job as well, and deals with the health department at the town hall. One of the most crucial parts of the applications from the vendors is the list of  ingredients that are contained in their products. Part of Ditto’s job is to send these lists to the health department and then let the vendors know whether or not they are allowed to sell the products. Also, the fire and police departments must be contacted, in order to coordinate the traffic problems and to be on site should an emergency arise.

In addition to the two head organizers, all members of student council members are divided into groups on the day of the Bazaar and are each given a specific tasks, such as directing traffic, working the admissions booth, or attending to vendors’ needs.

The day before the event itself, the student council stays after school from two untill ten o’clock setting up the tables designating where specific vendors will be located during the event. They also show up at five in the morning on the day of the Bazaar to help usher in the vendors as they arrive, to lay down the mats across the gym floor, and finish any tasks not completed the night before.

“They log in a lot of time, and people don’t know how much time they spend doing this. It’s really from September all the way through December,” said Nidzgorski.

Something that is relatively new to the Bazaar is an increased emphasis on local vendors and crafts. This year, several rejection letters were sent to vendors from larger companies in order to preserve a more community feel. The team has made sure that fewer food items are being sold, and that the Bazaar becomes more craft oriented, bringing the event back to its roots.

‘”As long as the vendors are happy and the customers are happy we are happy … I think it’s a great experience that gives me experience and knowledge about running an event,” said Johnson.

Overall, the Bazaar represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by many people. Though their work leads to a successful event for hundreds of people to enjoy, the amount of time the entire student council, especially the President and Vice President, spend on the event is unknown to the general public.