WYALUSING - And with a mighty roar ... they shopped!

The Wyalusing Lioness Club held its annual Christmas bazaar Sunday at the Wyalusing High School, giving shoppers a chance to browse through more than 40 vendors' displays and find the perfect gifts for others or themselves.

Besides the displays by crafters and others, the day included a concert by the Wyalusing Adult Band and a Lioness lunch. Santa and Mrs. Claus even found time in their busy holiday schedule for a visit.

"Enjoy it every year!" Jeannie Woodruff declared as she and friend Tara LaFrance, both of Wyalusing, looked over a display chock full of plump rings, beaded bracelets and draping necklaces. The bazaar, she added, takes a lot of work.

"The same vendors always like to come back," Lioness Pat Couch said, sitting at a table in a home-economics room serving as a cafeteria for the day. "We get them from different areas," she added, even Scranton and Susquehanna County.

She estimated shopper numbers in the hundreds right then, a couple of hours into the bazaar. "It's building," she said. Sunday was a good travel day, she noted.

The Wyalusing Lioness Club, part of the international Lioness organization, was formed in 1977 and celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.

"It's all community giving," she said of the club's purpose. Its charity work includes supporting fire victims, Towanda Area Christian Outreach and eyesight projects (a major goal of its brother club, the Wyalusing Lions). Through People Helping People, it also helps provide baskets for the less-fortunate at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

The Lionesses will use money raised Sunday for their charitable work. Pat's especially proud of the Lionesses' "baby," the Leos. A student club in Wyalusing High School led by Beth Trowbridge, the Leos have more than 150 members.

"I probably better get over there and get busy or they'll fire me!" Pat insisted and stood up, as shoppers crowded around the food table. There, they could choose from sloppy joes, hot dogs, soup, Texas hot, coffee and more.

In the front lobby, a Lioness raffle table greeted visitors. The raffle's first-place prize was a cherry deacon's bench, made by Ernie Stewart of Stevensville, while second was a double-knit afghan by Wyalusing Mayor Jean Reinhart. Other prizes were: third, a tote bag made by Allison Smith; fourth, $100 in cash; and fifth, a gift certificate to Connie's market.

Down in the gym the smell of wood crafts floated in the gym air. Throughout the room, shoppers could admire pillows, wreaths, Tupperware, doll clothes. And tie-dye baby clothes. And candles. Cupcakes and bread at the Leos table. Ceramic kittens. A ceramic figure of Jesus knocking on a door.

The day was going well, crafter Jacquelyn Rouse of JGR Enterprises reported. She sat working on a piece of Penn State-style cloth, with pillows to her left and decorated bags to her right. "I have a limited inventory so I take orders for what they want," she explained.

Nearby, Michele Naugle of Laceyville and her future daughter-in-law, Lori Keeney of Sugar Run, showed African handcrafts.

Michele explained her husband, Jonathan, works for a non-profit water resources company and frequently travels to Africa. "He always looks for locally made crafts and buys them outright," she said. Then he brings them home and they sell them here.

All their goods are "handmade by the people," Michele said. Their display included Ugandan baskets and Nigerian leather goods and recycled-paper jewelry.

"It seems to be pretty good," woodcrafter Brian Klinetob said of the bazaar. He and his wife, Francie, were at the bazaar for the first time, selling handmade wood products from their business, Slabtown Woodworks, near Harvey's Lake, Pa. Their wares included birdhouses, benches, pet-dish holders and signs. ("Welcome. Now go away," one ordered. "Megaden," read another.)

"It's been a steady stream of people walking through," Wendy Keeney of Wyalusing reported. She was selling Azuli Skye jewelry while, next to her, Melissa Kusmierz and daughter Marissa displayed their handmade Christmas cards and other items.

Over in the large room by the lobby, they were craft-ing it up too ... painted ornaments, wine racks, sweaters, scarves, Teddy bears holding candles, belts and more.

Julie Rose, from The Clothes Connection in Sayre, sat tying together a fabric garland.

She had "a lot of snowmen stuff," she reported, besides wooden gingerbread men, lighted glass gift boxes, evergreen decorations and other Christmas goodies.

Bells jingled. Santa was there! The smell of food drifted from the home-economics room. And shoppers shopped, helping the Lionesses help others.

It was enough to make everyone roar with joy.