Holidays Sweeter With Local Gingerbread House Display

A village of gingerbread houses takes up two rooms with 55 contest entries. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  FARMINGDALE – Sugar and spice and everything nice found a sweet home last week as part of the Wainright House and Museum’s traditional Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibit.

  According to Wainright’s Curator and Founder Virginia Woolley, the festive competition began approximately ten years ago when she first saved the historic building. The 2022 contest resulted in 55 submissions with winners selected by Four Boys Ice Cream, the event’s sponsors.

  In some cases, local students teamed up in classrooms to build houses with gingerbread foundations overloaded with candy and assorted goodies. Farmingdale’s Volcano Village featured more than a half dozen homes and represented “The Land of Lava Icing.”

   Other entrants came from community members who bonded as families to design their own versions of confectionary-laden structures.

The Wainright House is located at 48 Main Street. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  “One of the rules was that everything used to make the houses had to be edible,” said Woolley. “All of the participants received a special book to bring home with them.”

  Many of those who crafted the gingerbread houses used sugary icing as cement for their masonry tasks and adorned roofs with everything from gum drops and cereal, to pretzels and chocolate. The two-room exhibit looked like a miniature fairy tale village straight out of the Hansel and Gretel story.

Photo by Stephanie Faughnan

  Gelatin windowpanes gave a glossy effect to one of the gingerbread houses, while many of the creators turned their submittals into full-fledged scenes.

  First prize winner Simon Yost decided to add a fish pond with blue frosting spread out to represent the water. Red Swedish Fish candies took up occupancy in front of Simon’s house, which had lasagna walls, held up by pretzel columns.

  In second place, the Roche family captured their “Christmas Getaway” with a thatched roof made of shredded wheat and various pretzel types used to enhance the set.

  Jerry and Lorelei Rouvrais took third place with their creation named “The Goodenough House.” Woolley pointed to a photograph of a local home and said the blue prize winner was modeled after the house – with peppermint sticks as pillars out front.

Eight-year-old Gwendolyn Forst shares some of the details of the gingerbread house she helped make. Looking on is Wainright Curator Virginia Woolley and volunteer Collen Shean. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  The Wainright House and Museum serves as an ideal setting for spotlighting old time traditions such as handmade gingerbread houses. Handmade quilts and vintage furniture located throughout the premises tell stories of their own.

  Woolley said she was quite grateful for the volunteers who came to donate time to the museum, including Colleen Shean, a local resident. Shean was quick to point out that she couldn’t take credit for the concept of displaying the gingerbread houses – she did, however, appreciate the work that went into them.

  A sweet pigtailed eight-year-old named Gwendolyn Forst wandered into the Wainright building to spend some quality time helping the curator. Gwendolyn wore a blue full covered apron with the big letter “D” embroidered on the outside.

First prize winner Simon Yost was selected by the event’s sponsors, Four Boys Ice Cream. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  “This was my great-grandmother’s apron,” Gwendolyn shared. “My grandfather said I could have it and I really like it.”

  Gwendolyn walked over to her gingerbread house and gave some insight into the work she and her family put into it. A marshmallow snowman and an animal designed with a well-positioned walnut stand on both sides of the chocolate walkway.

Photo by Stephanie Faughnan

  The colors and creativity of the Gingerbread Houses brings visions of more than just sugar plum fairies. Edible decorations are not only heartwarming and fun to create; they bring a taste of the holiday season.