David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Hilltop Guild Bazaar


People will stand in line for the real thing. Oh, we stand in lines for lots of things, but we complain about it. The only time we don't complain very much is when it's the real thing. Live theatre, a Bruce Springsteen concert, or the Hilltop Guild Bazaar, that sort of thing.

Of course I went to the Bazaar on the 2nd of August, and if you missed it, I can only hope you'll be in line next year for the 34th annual Bazaar at the Kelly House, where they've been holding the Bazaar since 1954. Or maybe I hope you won't be in line.

About 200 people all tried to get into the Kelly House at once at 10:00 A.M. on the nose, as John Love counted down the seconds. No sale at Harrod's was ever greeted by a more frenzied but cheerful group, as they snatched at potholders and baby comforters, place mats and rugs, blueberry pies and peanut fudge and brittle, and much more.

My mother was in charge of white elephants and seemed to be doing a pretty good business, so I went to see Sam Wegenast, who sold me enough jam and jelly to get through the winter and I then joined my wife, who, along with 30 other folks, was rifling the baked goods counter. Not much salesmanship needed here.

After the first 45 minutes the crowd calmed down in anticipation of the lunch, which this year was an outstanding chicken pot-pie and cole slaw, French bread, home made cookies (of course) and ice cream. For only $3.00. And they tell us we gouge the tourists.

The Guild works all winter on this single day, and it's really mostly over in the first hour and a half. When John Love gets the countdown to zero it reminds you of a cross between the Oklahoma land rush and Hitler's assault on Poland. Next year it might be a good idea to sell tickets just to watch the crowd attack the Kelly House.

After lunch the white elephants, what remains of them, go for half price. I suppose that included the two kitchen sinks I saw. But before noon Sam was down to seven lonely jars of Apple-Mint jelly, and people were busily writing their names on raffle tickets for the usual spectacular prizes. Back in 1955 my father won a quilt, so we've had our turn, but I always buy some tickets anyway. I didn't win.

But I'll be in line next year, because I'll be out of chokecherry jelly and there may be a treasure among the used books, and who knows, I may even win in the raffle. But even if I only have lunch, it's in a good cause and it will be worth waiting in line, again, for the real thing.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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