Crowds rush annual Easter Bazaar

By Kelly McCarthy

March 24, 2013 Updated Mar 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Hand-painted Easter eggs and homemade baked goods were flying off the shelves at the Sacred Heart Ukrainian Easter Bazaar.

Every year, for more than 40 years the line outside Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church gets longer and longer. Even still, people wait because they say the annual Easter Bazaar is worth it.

"It's kind of like an excited anticipation to see people wanting our food to know that we did something that good to want it so badly," said Olenka Czabala, of Johnson City. "So it's really fun."

Many rushed to tables filled with baked goods or stood in line for a hot lunch before checking out the arts and crafts.

"Well you can see the line. It wraps around the door," said Sue Merkin, of North Carolina. "The food, some of it, is difficult to make so people don't usually make it at home, but it's not available all the time and I think that's what brings a lot of people too."

Merkin travels to Johnson City each year to fill grocery bags of Ukrainian baked goods.

"Unfortunately, a lot of us don't know how to bake like our parents did, so they come here and pick up what they remember from their childhood," said Fr. Teodor Czabala, of Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church.

All profits of the Easter Bazaar are used to maintain the church. Parishioners start baking breads and decorating the pysanky eggs weeks in advance.

"The biggest thing is people get together, they get together to make the pyrohy, to make the holubki," Fr. Czabala said. "So it's a communal event in that sense."

"It's kind of nice knowing that we've been working for so long and so hard and now it's just a time to relax and wait for Easter to come," Czabala said.

Easter is the most important feast day for Ukrainian Catholic Christianity. This year, Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday, May 5.

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