So Do You Go or Not?!

Holiday BizarreUh… okay. I like bizarre holidays but I’m not so sure I’d attend a holiday bizarre, especially at a private residence. (Given that this sign shouldn’t have been affixed to a light pole in the first place and should have been removed about 40 days ago, I’d say it’s fair game.)

Recently I was kicking myself for not taking a picture of a “holiday bizarre” sign I saw on a prominent marquee in Redmond years ago. So imagine my delight when I saw this deliciously misspelled denizen on the side of the road…

According to my good friends Merriam and Webster:


adjective \bə-ˈzär\

: very unusual or strange

:  strikingly out of the ordinary: as

a :  odd, extravagant, or eccentric in style or mode

b :  involving sensational contrasts or incongruities

What the people hosting this event likely meant is:


noun \bə-ˈzär\

: a type of market found especially in Middle Eastern countries that has rows of small shops which sell many different kinds of things

: an event at which things are sold to raise money for people or an organization

Let’s compare and contrast for the sake of the King’s English.

Tim Burton’s vision of Christmas (or just about anything) is bizarre:

Tim Burton

Many things that parade up and down runways are bizarre:


The Archie McPhee store’s turkey mask is bizarre:

Archie McPhee Turkey Mask

(Click on the picture to see more holiday bizarre, such as the Santa bigfoot sweater and pink lederhosen unicorn ornament.)

This is surely what the owners of the above sign intended:

Trinity Lutheran Bazaar
Trinity Lutheran Bazaar, Freeland, WA

Ah, yes (Jacques Cousteau voice). Here’s a real bazaar, a cavernous indoor space brimming with cozy booths that showcase handicrafts , baked goods, and assorted ephemera. As the impromptu marketplace hums with the sound of eager shoppers chatting, sprinkles of harp music fall like snow as the aroma of scalding spiced cider wafts over a profusion of mint green knitted dish towels…

Bizarre versus bazaar… that is the difference. Hey, we’re all human, but adjust your holiday advertising accordingly if you hope to attract everyday citizens and not quiet people in garish crocheted pom-pom sheaths sporting latex turkey masks and concealing machetes.

I continue to be amazed at the abundance of grammar and spelling errors that exist even in professional advertising, the most annoying of which is the use of apostrophes to make a word plural (which, for the love of our language, is almost always incorrect!). If this person was going to host multiple events, they would be hosting bazaars, not bazaar’s.

For kicks, there are events around the country called Bizarre Bazaars, including one right here in Seattle. In this case it would likely be acceptable to show up wearing just about anything, because we tend to do that in Seattle anyway. Except for the concealed machetes. We usually just leave those in the car since they protrude from crocheted articles of clothing and startle techie transplants when they’re paired with most poultry masks.

Bizarre Bazaar


I think there should be something in science called the “reindeer effect.” I don’t know what it would be, but I think it’d be good to hear someone say, “Gentlemen, what we have here is a terrifying example of the reindeer effect.”

-Jack Handey


©2013 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/

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