The article below describes our church’s annual Flea Market.
St. Michael’s extends gratitude to all who contribute as volunteers, donors, or patrons.
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Flea Market & Ethnic Food Weekend is an Annual Community Event
Every year the lines of people form along 205 North Main Street, Pittston, starting at 8 a.m. on one very special Saturday in August. It’s the waiting line for the doors to open at 9 am for the annual St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston, Flea Market. This highly visible scene is repeated every year in much the same manner. The Flea Market is open to the community on both Saturday and Sunday, but it’s the start day of Saturday that attracts the big crowds. And everyone is excited and willing to patiently wait because of what is ahead, and to be among the first to spot a treasure.
It’s easy to see why. The church basement hall is filled in every available corner with a huge assortment of treasures — a collection of donated items that people no longer need. Many items are as good as new, others may be old but valuable. There are tables upon tables of all kinds of treasures…from books to household gadgets; toys to trinkets and things that are mysteries in themselves (as in “I wonder what this is?”). It’s a great place to find a bargain. It’s fun to browse. And it’s fun scouting the tables for that one awesome discovery. Each item that gets a new home finds a new purpose and that in itself is a good thing. Recycling is certainly Eco-friendly! (We are sure Pope Francis would approve!). All the “finds”, no matter the real worth, are valuable in the eyes of the purchaser and that is all it takes to make a smile.
What isn’t visible to the waiting lines of people is something more remarkable — the time, talent and effort put forth by the volunteers of St. Michael’s parish. In 2015, everything was handled by thirty-five determined volunteers, dedicated in spirit to do all that was required. Every bit of help each year, whether that involves 1 hour or 100 hours is appreciated. We always need more volunteers also!
2015 marked the 19th year for the weekend event that began in 1996 and remains the major fundraising effort each year. In addition to the flea market, the event features a weekend array of ethnic foods (halupki, haluski, and pirohi – all parish made), and an annual ziti dinner with homemade meatballs and sauce.
Volunteers contribute each year with a huge selection of baked goods – so many in fact, that the flea market has had to expand outdoors to a large bake sale tent in the parking lot.
Ethnic food preparation is another major volunteer effort that involves everything from purchase of supplies to to food prep to cleanup. A hard-working group of experienced cooks and helpers continues to be key to the great food everyone gets to enjoy. And with all of it being homemade, the love and hours these volunteers devote is pure sacrifice and charity. Aside from preparing the ethnic food, volunteers serve in other ways. Some spend weeks sorting, arranging and pricing the flea market items. Others work behind the scenes with preparation – everything from organizing the small details to running errands, helping with set up, to getting word out about the event.
All volunteers are put to service on event weekend – working the checkout line, serving behind the ethnic food bar, dishing up and serving the ziti dinners and more. All the volunteers know that their labor, skill and experience is and continues to be in demand, but also genuinely valued. All is for the benefit of St. Michael’s as a church — a church that is an important part of each volunteer’s life, their families and to their identity as Catholics. But also in recognizing the need to maintain a church building that turned 100 in 2015, and to remain a visible part of our Pittston community.
St. Michael’s has a special mission in being the only Byzantine Catholic church among many other denominations of faith in the Pittston community. The Flea Market presents an opportunity to be a community presence and in doing so, gives others a chance to see or know about our parish and about who we are as Byzantine Catholics.
Of course, everyone at St. Michael’s cannot say thank you enough times to all who support this event in being patrons and in making donations. So frequently, we see many familiar faces among the visitors and many return food customers, and it’s great fun to have such wonderful friends in our community. That alone is worth the effort.
We are very grateful to all and as always, we extend our most sincere blessing of God’s goodness to everyone. God grant all helpers and patrons many blessed and happy years!