December 6, 2002

Gingerbread Houses Set to Dazzle Ithaca

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The Tompkins County Public library will dazzle tomorrow with the splendor of over 30 gingerbread houses as the Ithaca Downtown Partnership (IDP) launches its annual gingerbread house competition.

For the past 11 years, families, clubs and individuals have submitted stunning entries to the contest and organizers hope this year’s display will be as impressive. Some past gingerbread structures have included gingerbread hockey rinks, light houses and fairy tale scenes.

“[Participants] are very creative,” said Christina Morrison, IDP marketing director. “The gingerbread houses are all made out of gingerbread and other things that are edible.”

Gary Ferguson, IDP executive director, agreed that the gingerbread display is stunning.

“Some of [the gingerbread houses] are quite elegant and beautiful,” he said.

Marjorie Hoffman, a creator of many memorable entries in the past, has used the competition to perfect her constructional creativity.

“Over the years, I learned how to successfully construct shapes [out of edible materials],” she said.

Hoffman has submitted such creations as festive Chanukkah scenes, scenes inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella as well as a scene of hope following the events of Sept. 11.

“Because, I’m an artist, it was fun to find ways to construct figures,” she said.

The more-than-30 gingerbread creations will be judged by members of the local art community. While this event is competitive, however, Morrison underscored the non-competitive spirit of the event.

“We don’t like to make the event too competitive,” she said, emphasizing the festive and creative goals of the display. Whether a participant or an organizer, everyone associated with the gingerbread display values the atmosphere fostered by the gingerbread competition.

“It’s a very family, hometown, fun thing,” Morrison said. “People look forward to it. There is this wonderful aroma of gingerbread. It makes you feel like the holidays.”

Hoffman agreed. “The gingerbread competition] is a family event. It’s a wonderful time of year,” she said.

The gingerbread display will be completed today and will be open to the public beginning tomorrow. The display can be found in the North Reading Room of the Tompkins County Library and will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. until Dec. 20.


Archived article by Ellen Miller