The SRQ Gingerbread Festival displayed about 150 houses and 39 unique Christmas trees
Gingerbread houses were the main exhibit in the West District of the University Town Center, but a few people were just as interested in the supporting act — a line of specially decorated Christmas trees.
The 12th annual SRQ Gingerbread Festival was held from Dec. 11 through Dec. 20 at University Town Center. The festival featured more than 150 gingerbread houses made by Girl Scout troops, classrooms, youth groups, businesses and nonprofits.
Gingerbread houses came in all shapes and sizes, from townhouse complexes and cozy cottages to trailer homes and treehouses. One organization even made a lacrosse field. And building materials used included everything from marshmallows to mints, Starbursts to Skittles and Reese's to Raisinets.
The festival also included 39 Christmas trees decorated by 39 nonprofits, each with its own unique theme. For example, one tree decorated by Keep Manatee Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to litter prevention, recycling and beautification in Manatee County, included ornaments such as toilet paper snowflakes, magazine angels, wine cork Yule logs, water bottle icicles and cable cord trees.
Patrons could asked to vote for their favorite gingerbread house for $1 or buy a house for $25. Each tree was also available for purchase via a silent auction.
All proceeds from the Gingerbread Festival are used to support programming for the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Funds from the decorated trees benefit area charities.