In one of those bazaar twists of fate, this weekend seems to mark the unofficial opening of the Christmas shopping season. True, it's not even Halloween yet. But there are more Christmas bazaars coming up than you can shake an embroidered pillowcase at - 10 this weekend alone, and those are just the ones we've heard about. Dozens more are scheduled for the weeks ahead.
It's easy to understand their appeal. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present, look no farther than the nearest bazaar. At the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, for example, there's a calico Noah's Ark for sale - complete with a 12-animal crew (Nov. 4). St. Christopher's in Springfield has handmade crib quilts (Nov. 4). Potomac United Methodist Church (Nov. 1 and 2) and Christ Episcopal Church (Nov. 4) specialize in mouse houses, sold with family and furnishings.
Or, you could hit the jackpot at one of the raffles, and present your loved one with a trip at San Francisco (Soorp Khatch Armenian Church, Oct. 20 to 22). Or a queen-size patchwork quilt - six months in the making by the women of St. John's Episcopal Church (Oct. 21).
As you make the rounds, fortify yourself with home-cooked food. Most self-respecting bazaars feature it, in the form of lunches, sit-down dinners, buffets, carry-outs or snack bars. In the weeks ahead, without traveling farther than the suburbs, you can sample Chinese, Romanian, Armenian, Asian, African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, English, Greek, Russian, English, early American, country-style and unspecified "gourmet" dishes. As the pounds add up, tell yourself it's all for a good cause.
To aid you in your bazaar-hopping, here's a list of what's coming up. But save a little time, money and belt notches - the list only covers bazaars scheduled through about Thanksgiving. We'll still got December to get through. OCTOBER
20-21 - Chinese Community Church Moon Festival, 1011 L St. NW, Cantonese dinner, Chinese caligraphy, notepapers, novelties and food. Friday 4 to 8, Saturday noon to 5. 483-3411.
20 to 22 - Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church Bazaar, 4906 Flint Drive, Chevy-Chase. Armenian food (pastries, groceries and dinners), crafts, raffle, entertainemnt and prizes. Friday 5 to 11, Saturday 11 to 11, Sunday noon to 4.
21 - Williamsburg Fair, St. John's Episcopal Church, 6701 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase. Quilt drawing, bake shop, handmade Christmas gifts, country kitchen, d0ried flower arrangements, books and records, white elephants, children's carnival and lunch at "Raleigh's Tavern." 10 to 3.
21 - Fall Festival Bazaar, Our Lady of Victory Elementary School, 4835 MacArthur Blvd. NW. Silent auction (antiques, vacations, theater and sports tickets etc), hand-crafted gifts, plants, books, toys, clothing, sports equipment, kid's games and films, bake shop, ethnic foods and lunch. 10 to 3.
21 - Family Fall Festival, Kilby Easter Seal Center, 6400 B Laurel-Bowie Road, Bowie (on Maryland Route 197). Flea market, plants, "patchwork pantrg," games and booths, music, dancing and the U.S. Park Police Horse Show. All proceeds benefit the handicapped. 11 to 5.
21 - St. Patrick's Episcopal Church Bazaar, 2141 Brush Drive, Falls Church. Christmas shop, auction, country store, crafts, comic photos and caricatures, designer T-shirts, children's games and prizes, white elephants and an international lunch. 9 to 5.
21 - Bells United Methodist Church Bazaar, 6016 Allentown Road, Camp Springs. Handmade Christmas gifts and decorations, baked goods, homemade candy, plants, lunch. 10 to 5.
21 - Calico Bazaar, Glenmount United Methodist Church, 12901 Georgia Ave., Wheaton. Christmas shop, hand-painted china, garden shop, toys, hand-crafted jewelry, thrift shop, bake shop, ice cream corner, Men's Club auction and lunch. 10 to 4.
21 and 22 - Bazaar and Rummage Sale, Holy Cross Romanian Orthodox Church, 5150 Leesburg Pike, Alexandria. American and Romanian handicrafts, bake shop, Romanian lunch, raffle. Saturday 9 to 6, Sunday 1 to 5.
22 - Thieves Market, Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 S. 2nd St. Arlington, 75 booths selling holiday gifts, crafts, artwork, antiques, used books, furniture, toys and foods. 10 to 4. 558-2801.
24 - Senior Citizens Bazaar, Montgomery Mall. Needlework, ceramics and other crafts made by senior citizens. 11 to 4. 468-4217.
25 and 26 - Harvest and Home Bazaar, Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues NW. Jewelry, silent auction, antiques, attic treasures, bake shop, country store, plants, handmade aprons ("the year-round industry of the mothers and grandmothers of the church") and a fashion show lunch on Thursday (reservations: 365-1115 or 365-1143). Wednesday 10 to 5, Thursday 11 to 4.
25 to 27 - Junior League of Washington Christmas Shop, Madison Hotel, 15th and M Streets NW. Exhibitors from around the country sell a variety of gifts, including crafts, jewelry, clothing, stationery, Smithfield hams, handpainted trunks, perfumes and dollhouses. Also, fashion shows and lunches (reservations: 370-2299), silent auction and art show. Wednesday and Thursday 10 to 4:30 and 6 to 9:30, Friday 10 to 4:30. Admission $3. 785-1000.
27 - Fun Night, St. George's Church, 160 U St. NW. Baked goods, games, white elephants, linens, jewelry, clothes, bingo and refreshments. 7 to 10.
28 - Great Oaks Center Bazaar, 12001 Cherry Hill Road, Silver Spring. Flea market, crafts, plants, games, white elephants and refreshments, to benefit this state-operated home for the mentally retarded. 10 to 4.
28 - St. Ann's Catholic Church Bazaar, 4400 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Christmas boutique, art fair, toys and games, flea market, books and records, quilt and gourmet food. 10 to 7:30.
28 - Washington International School Bazaar, Tregaron estate, 3100 Macomb St. NW. Not surprisingly, an international event, with food from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, arts and crafts, games, a haunted house, music, books, plants and an English pub. 11 to 4.
28 - National Presbyterian Church Bazaar and Festival, 4101 and 4121 Nebraska Ave. NW. At the church, there's a bazaar with gifts, baked goods, antiques, white elephants, lunch, fast foods, tours and a silent auction (becoming live at 2:30). Across the way, at the school, a Halloween Harvest Festival features a haunted house. 10 to 3.
28 - St. Alban's Bazaar, Guild Hall and Satterly Hall, Wisconsin and Masachusetts Avenues NW. Baked goods, Christmas decorations, potpourri, white elephants, books, needlework and lunch. 10 to 4:30.
28 - Christmas Bazaar, St. Peter's Catholic Church, Route 108, Olney. Williamsburg shop, Christmas decorations and boutique, bath shop, bake shop, coffee shop, children's shop (no adults allowed) and lunch. 10 to 3. NOVEMBER
1 and 2 - Christmas Angel Bazaar, Potomac United Methodist Church Parish House, Falls Road and South Glen Road, Potomac. Hand-made holiday crafts, including painted wooden ornaments, doll houses, mouse houses and under-the-tree "Christmas village components." Also, an auction (Wednesday, 7 to 9), bargain basement, "History of Potomac" slide show (Thursday, 2 and 4), baked goods and lunch. Wednesday 10 to 9, Thursday 10 to 6.
1 to 4 - St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church Bazaar, 42nd and Fessenden Streets NW. Armenian food and pastries, rugs and gifts, raffles, lunches and dinners. If the food inspires you, they have Armenian cookbooks for sale too. Wednesday and Thursday 11 to 2, Friday and Saturday 11 to 9.
2 and 3 - Northern Virginia Handcrafters' Guild Crafts Show, Tysons Corner Shopping Center, McLean. Displays, demonstrations and sales (of things like clothespin dolls, pine cone creations, stained glass, weaving, soft sculptures, puppets, etc.) by more than 100 craftspeople. 10 to 9:30.
2 to 4 - Christmas Corner, Christ Church Parish Hall, 118 N. Washington St., Alexandria. Gifts "from some of the best shops and boutiques in the country." Admission $1.50 (5 tickets for $5). Free parking at the Masonic Temple, and free shuttlebus service on the half-hour. Sponsored by the Junior Friends of the Alexandria Comminity Y. 10 to 4 daily.
3 - Harvest House Bazaar, Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, 7001 Connecticut Ave, Chevy Chase. Homemade baked goods, and Candy, gifts, decorations, aprons, plants, collections, art and books, snack bar and dinner. 10 to 8.
3 and 4 - Esprit de Noel Bazaar, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 1500 35th St. NW. Handmade Christmas ornaments, antiques, arts (oils and water colors) and crafts (quills, pillows, ceramics), book stall and bake shop. Friday 10 to 10.Saturday 10 to 3.
3 to 5 - Christmas Bazaar, St. Sophia Cathedral, 36th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW. All kinds of Christmas presents, from stocking stuffers to luxuries.Also, Greek food and entertainment. Friday and Saturday 11 to 9, Sunday noon to 9.
4 - Sugarplum Bazaar, Christ Episcopal Church, 109 S. Washington St., Rockville. Crafts (mouse houses, stuffed animals, Christmas ornaments, nut candle rings and cornhusk wreaths) and confections (jam, baked goods, country ham, cheeses and soups). Also, a turkey dinner. 10 to 8.
4 - Christmas Bazaar, Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Connecticut Avenue and Jocelyn Street NW. Handmade Christmas decorations, country store (with fresh eggs, cheeses, sausage, jams and jellies), baked goods, dried flowers, plants, linens, used books, a children's table and lunch. 10 to 3.
4 - Christmas Bazaar, St. Thomas Apostle Church, 2665 Woodley Rd. NW. Christmas decorations, handmade gifts, plants, books, books, jewelry, attic treasures, baked goods and lunch. 11 to 6.
4 - St. Luke's United Methodist Church Bazaar, Wisconsin Avenue at Calvert Street NW. Christmas tree trimmings, country store (with fresh produce, homemade jams and jellies and canned goods), crafts (stuffed animals, lap robes, afghans), silent auction, jewelry, white elephants and baked goods. 10 to 3.
4 - Toy and Book Fair, Geneva Nursery School, 11931 Seven Locks Road, Rockville. Crafts, children's toys, and books, used toys, bake sale and pony rides. 340-7704. 10 to 2.
4 - Fraternal Order of Police Ladies Auxilliary Lodge No. 1 Christmas Bazaar, Police Association Gymnasium, 608 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Homemade Thanksgiving articles and Christmas presents, craft demonstrations, candles, plants, dried flowers, baked goods, and a raffle. 10 to 3.
4 - Christmas Bazaar, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 5203 St. Barnabas Road, Temple Hills. Crafts, Christmas decorations and ornaments, country store (with baked goods, pickles, jams and jellies), attic shop, secret shop (kids only), plants, flowers and a book shop. 10 to 3.
4 - Christmas Bazaar, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 6320 Hanover Ave., Springfield. Crafts include Christmas hangings and ornaments, crewel work, needlepoint items, shell candles, quilted pillows and crib quilts, bird feeders, dried flowers and wreaths. Also: a flea market, art show, bake booth, religious book table, kids' movies and lunch. 10 to 3.
4 - Good Shepherd Holiday Bazaar, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Route 108, one miel west of Olney. Crafts (including hand-painted, crocheted and woven tree ornaments, a calico Noah's Ark and all kinds of wreaths), toys and clothing, and baked goods. 9 to 3.
10 to 12 - St. Mark Orthodox Church Bazaar, 7124 River Road, Bethesda. Christmas ornaments, baked goods, homemade chocolates, attic treasures, Greek jewelry and Eastern European-Russian dinners each night. Friday 5 to 8, Saturday 10 to 4, Sunday noon to 4.
11 - Presbyterian Home Bazaar, 3050 Military Road NW. Christmas decorations, arts and crafts, white elephants, jewelry, plants, stamps, antiques, used clothing, baked goods and lunch. 10 to 3.
18 - Christmas Craft Sale, Stoneybrooke Park Mansion, 6715 Stoneybrooke Lane, Alexandria. Christmas ornaments and decorations, dollhouses, ceramics, macrame, china painting, paper sculpture, dolls, leather, cards, dried and silk flower arrangements and jewelry. 10 to 6. 768-1777.
18 - Winter Fair, St. Barnabas Church-Leland, Upper Marlboro. Traditional ham and oyster dinner, and bazaar items: canned goods, plants, crafts, artwork. For directions, call 249-9671. 2 to 7.