Behind closed doors at Sarasota schools and youth groups, a massive construction project is under way.But, the children aren’t using hammers and nails. Their tools of choice are of the edible variety: frosting glue, M&M pavers, gumdrop shingles and, of course, gingerbread lumber.
Friday, Dec. 14, their hard work will be put on display as part of the fourth annual CYD Gingerbead Festival, held at the Potter Building at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The festival will showcase more than 150 gingerbread houses during the weekend.
“The festival grew out of the philosophy of pairing youth and adults to work together to showcase the great things our youth can bring to the community,” says CYD Executive Director Karen Bogues. “The idea resonated with us, because we wanted to showcase their creativity. People who come will see no two houses alike, and they will be amazed at their vision and creative display.”
Over the past week, students tapped their imaginations to build gingerbread creations to be entered in the weekend-long festival. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in each age group: elementary, middle and high school students, as well as adults.
Two groups of girls began work on their projects Thursday, Dec. 6, at Girls Inc. of Sarasota County. After voting on a theme, the groups settled on a log cabin and Santa’s house at the North Pole.
Girls Inc. resident chef Tricia Dickerson loaded up trays of candy and supplies, before turning the girls loose to begin the building process.
“I wanted them to be able to use their imaginations,” she says. “They can use anything I have.”
The girls showed no lack of creativity, building Tootsie Roll reindeer, marshmallow chimneys, Rice Krispies treat stairs and clothespin penguins to adorn Santa’s North Pole abode.
The festival rules don’t specify that the creations must be a house, and Bogues says some standout entries from previous years have included a model of the Brooklyn Bridge, Snoopy’s doghouse, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and a car wash.
Whatever theme students choose, Bogues says she’s happy to provide a chance for youth and adults to work together to create something of which they can be proud.
“My favorite part is seeing a young person come in, dragging their parent by the wrist, to show off their house,” she said. “Everybody deserves that opportunity to feel proud of something they’ve created and to show it to others.”
IF YOU GO
Fourth Annual CYD Gingerbread Festival
What: Friday and Saturday night features three teams of high school students, who will face off in a gingerbread house-building competition.
When: takes place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Where: Potter Building, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd.
Info: Call 922-5126.