Gingerbread Houses: Edible Architecture Brings Families Together

Gingerbread Build: Designers and Dreamers Create Edible Homes

Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, communication, and collaboration.

Is there anything better than the sound of children happily discussing whether gumdrops or gummy bears make for better foliage in a confectionery garden? Grown-up architects debating the merits of Lifesavers vs. melted lollipops to convey gothic stained glass? The hum of conversation and laughter as designers of all ages bring their inspiration and creativity to bear on gingerbread walls and roofing material and piles of buttercream mortar?

It’s time again for one of the best-loved holiday traditions ‘round these parts: Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Gingerbread Build!  This year it takes place on Saturday, December 5th, 2015, from 1-4 pm at the Eastworks building in Easthampton, MA.

Teams of four are invited to register at pvhabitat.org then gather in the Habitat tradition of working as a community to build efficient and affordable homes… but these homes will be constructed with gingerbread and held together with buttercream mortar. The event is open to the public: Come stroll the avenues to view the tiny houses under construction, buy raffle tickets for fabulous prizes and stay for the celebrity judges’ awards in categories including Best Use of the Color Green; Most Unusual Materials; Jimmy Carter/Habitat Tribute House; Most Resembling a Sea Creature; Clearest Commitment to Sustainable Living; Most Resembling a Local or Famous Landmark; Internationally Inspired; and Nicest Landscaping Job. All youth entries and the teams raising the most money and collecting the most contributions will be recognized.

Other upcoming gingerbread events for 2015:

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm ♦ Celebrate the season with a day of holiday activities at the Springfield Museums. This year’s gingerbread exhibition and competition is titled “Seussian Holiday” and features creations by bakeries, restaurants, schools, and area residents, on display until January 3. Vote for your favorite and find out who wins at 4pm. Gingerbread ornament-making also happens for museum vistors. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm ♦ Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany in the early 19th century, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Mason Library. Ages 6 and up (with caregiver help as needed). All supplies included. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm ♦ The first recorded instance of gingerbread shaped like human figures is from the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I of England had likenesses of some of her esteemed guests made from biscuits. Whom will your gingerbread cookie look like? Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate pre-made gingerbread figures. Advance sign-up requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 4pm ♦ Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, communication, and collaboration. Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Hatfield Public Library. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

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