Special to The Hays Daily News

GREAT BEND -- It won't be long before the flavors and aromas of the autumn season gradually give way to the miracle and meaning of Christmas. That can only mean one thing: It's time for the Dominican Sisters of Peace annual Mission Benefit Bazaar in Great Bend.

The Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend host their annual bazaar from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Motherhouse, 3600 Broadway, Great Bend. The aroma and magic of the autumn, pre-holiday excursion includes beverage and cinnamon rolls in the morning, soup and pie for lunch, hundreds of handcrafted and homemade items, two drawings for a total of 19 prizes, unique gift theme baskets and a silent auction.

The spirit of the people on this day is a spirit of friendship and enjoyment all through the house. People are having a cup of coffee or juice and just sitting and visiting, or eagerly finding their treasures among the items for sale. Even though things are busy this day, it seems it is still a day to enjoy each shopper, renew acquaintances and feel the excitement of the season.

Arriving in central Kansas in 1902 to provide education and health care for the early settlers, the sisters relied on their own resources to pay for their ministries and for a Motherhouse where they could live. They began to sell handcrafted and homemade items, along with a hot meal. Today, the tradition continues.

Sisters, Dominican Associates, employees, family members and friends work on sale items throughout the year. By the time the second Saturday in November arrives, there is such an array of goods that repeat customers line up to stream into the auditorium before the doors open. The sisters are always in awe of all the people who join them in the work of making the bazaar a success.

People donate items for sale throughout the year, and people and volunteer youth help the weekend of the bazaar with the baking, serving the meal, assisting customers and speeding up the clean-up.