The Star-Herald

Families create sweet holiday treats during Wintergreen gingerbread festival

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Wintergreen Arts Center continued one of its most popular holiday traditions over the weekend when it hosted the annual Gingerbread Festival for area families.

On Saturday, the center was packed with both young and old gingerbread house builders, eager to scoop up decorations from the candy buffet and create their own masterpiece. Wintergreen held three sessions throughout the morning and afternoon, all of which were full of 20 or more families who had reserved gingerbread houses in advance.

This year marked the 11th annual Gingerbread Festival, according to Wintergreen board member Kayla Buck, and involved more than a dozen volunteers from both Wintergreen and the community. Culinary arts students from Loring Job Corps in Limestone baked the gingerbread while Wintergreen volunteers spent much of the previous day putting the frames of the houses together and getting ready for their visitors.

“The gingerbread festival gives parents something fun that they can do with their children instead of just dropping them off,” Buck said. “Sometimes they’ll see other families they know and that creates a great community atmosphere.”

Wintergreen volunteers added new decorations to the candy buffet including green icing, ice cream cones to create Christmas “trees” around the gingerbread houses, sprinkles to add Christmas “lights” and cereal. Children could also choose from gumdrops, jelly beans, marshmallows and twisted licorice. Folks could also stop by the coffee and hot chocolate bar for a warm drink.

“We try to add different things every year,” Buck said. “I love seeing the kids’ creativity with their houses.”

Once they picked their candy decorations Camryn Ames, 4, and her little brother Dylan, 3, immediately began helping their parents — Deirdre and Chuck Ames of Presque Isle — choose between an assortment of candy for their house.

“We’re making a Christmas wonderland,” Camryn Ames said.

Deirdre Ames said that the family has made the Gingerbread Festival one of their favorite holiday traditions.

“We come every year and it’s fun to watch the kids have a good time with all the candy,” she said.

Friends Isabella Copeland of Fort Fairfield and Tori Johndro of Limestone each got creative by using multi-colored sprinkles as Christmas “lights” for their houses and ice cream cone trees and spreading white frosting on their roofs to mimic snow.

“We’re going to back the houses pretty and festive,” Jandreau said.

Even adults tried their own hand at making gingerbread houses, including sisters Shiela Flewelling of Monticello and Linda DeLong of Perham.

“This is our first time coming here and we thought it would be a fun thing to do,” DeLong said. “We’ll definitely come again next year and bring our nieces and nephews.”

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