Heavy rains early in the day made for just slightly cooler conditions at the St. Joseph School Bazaar’s Old Fashioned Midway on Friday night.

Residents braved the mud and muggy air to visit the fundraiser’s carnival of kids’ games, the annual cake-walk, the famous ham and bacon stand and Bingo.

Lori Ross, executive chairperson for the Bazaar, said, "The good news is that a cold front has come through. It’s about 90 degrees."

Raymond Luyet and his wife Betty spend most of their time at the ham and bacon stand, their favorite part of the Bazaar. When asked how long they had been coming to the Bazaar, Raymond Luyet said "Just about 74 years."

"Yeah, we’ve always come, except for maybe one or two years," Raymond Luyet said. 

Luyet graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1954. The couple tries to win three to four hams at the Midway to take home, freeze, and take out for special occasions or for day-to-day.

Bill Hegeman, honorary chair of the 98th St. Joseph School Bazaar, said, "We probably have people from Morrilton, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and a lot of people are those who graduated from St. Joe and have come back to visit. Most of Faulkner County communities are represented at one time or another during the events."

Money raised from the fundraiser’s box lunches, family sit-down dinner, midway, flea market and auctions will go to offset costs of the school’s operation.

"Tuition has to make up the difference between the cost of operations and the fundraisers we have," Hegeman said. "Any income helps reduce expenses and therefore cuts down on the tuition that each student has to pay."

The largest fundraiser for the school raises about 10 percent of the annual budget, according to Brad Hegeman, financial chairperson for the Bazaar.

"This is all from the support of our community over the year and we’re happy to see everyone helping to support this school," Brad Hegeman said. 

Friday’s box lunches, the local business’ and individual’s opportunity to play a philanthropic role in the event, went out to more than 1,600 people according to Marilyn Dail, chairperson of the Bazaar’s kitchen.

The largest revenue generator, the live and silent auctions, will take place tonight beginning at 6 p.m.

"Friday night is about the kids, but Saturday night it’s about the adults," Jane Nabholz, chairperson of the live and silent auctions, said.

There are 190 items to bid on this year, and all were donations.

"They range in value from home-baked goods that our parishioners make to items from businesses," Nabholz said. "You wonder how some things are going to be paid for by one person, but groups bid on big items to buy together, such as the Lieblong family’s dinner for eight couples. After the dinner, an extended dance part for up to 50 people takes place on their farm."

Other items generating interest are an electric guitar signed by pop star Taylor Swift and a hand-crafted canoe built by St. Joseph parishioners. 

"We have a deer stand built with marine-grade plywood built on an all-steel frame. It will withstand a lot of weather. The deer hunters are looking forward to that one," Nabholz said.  

The weekend fundraiser will conclude with the raffle drawing, when three lucky supporters will win a 2010 Camaro, an HP laptop package or $250.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)