The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 19, 2013

Visions of gumdrops, icing dance to victory

Spring Arbor hosts first gingerbread house competition

By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer

Thursday, December 19, 2013 — It was a holiday tour of homes ... gingerbread homes that is.

Spring Arbor Assisted Living hosted its first gingerbread house competition.

“We’ve had gingerbread house displays in the past, but this was the first year it was a competition,” activity and wellness coordinator Christy Crisco said.

With $175 going to the first place winner, $100 going to second and $75 to third, as well as prizes in an 18 and under category, the competition drew in some rather elaborate gingerbread houses.

“Some of them are more like gingerbread mansions,” Crisco said.

There was a gingerbread lighthouse and a gingerbread train station.

Rylee Linnell, who took first place in the under 18 category, constructed a gingerbread cottage complete with a gumdrop walkway and peppermints on the roof.

Julie Poplin, who was runner-up in the over 18 category, gave her gingerbread house a football theme. There were candy cane goal posts, sugar reindeer and tiny Starburst hotdogs on a pretzel grill. She entitled it “Reindeer Games.”

“It took me about a week to make it,” she said.

It took first place winners Oren and Nancy Josey even longer to construct their creation.

“It took us about two weeks,” Nancy said.

The nearly two-foot high gingerbread mansion was made completely from scratch, icing, gingerbread and all.

“For some reason I thought we had to do it that way for the competition,” Nancy said.

“I’m not sure I would have done it that way if I’d known otherwise; it was a lot of work.”

She said they made the dough in three batches and cut out their own patterns.

“You had to refrigerate the dough, roll it out, cut out the patterns, freeze the dough, bake it, cut it some more and finally let it cool,” Nancy said.

And that was before they started putting it together and decorating it.

“I’ll tell you what, all that work paid off though,” Crisco said.

“This was the one everyone went to when they walked in the door.”

In fact, one viewer has offered to buy the gingerbread house. The Joseys are still discussing a price with them.

“We spent at least $40 in materials alone,” Nancy said.

Crisco said she hopes future events draw more gingerbread houses like the ones they saw this year.

“I want to fill this whole room. Or a bigger room, Hopefully once word gets out about it and people hear about the prizes we’re offering, we’ll get even more entries,” Crisco said.

“It’s been such a real hit here. The residents love it.”

Crisco said her favorite part of the whole event was listening to residents’ comments.

“When I saw people down here I’d sit where they couldn’t see me and just listen. They’d be like, ‘Are those real logs?’ or ‘Oh my gosh those are pretzels, those are pretzels’ or ‘Look at the little reindeer,’ ” Crisco said.

“It’s a good tradition to start.”

Twelve-year-old Linnell agreed.

“Christmas just isn’t the same without gingerbread houses,” she said.

Every year she makes them with her grandmother.

“Christmas wouldn’t be complete without it.”

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynews