Sweet Home à la Gingerbread

Sugar frosted eaves and candied window panes – what’s not to love about a gingerbread abode?

In the hunt for a sampling of Christmas, The Pear Tree checked out the first of what organizers hope will be an annual “Building Our Future” Gingerbread House Building Competition, held at the Parkinson Recreation Centre today in Kelowna, B.C.

Clint Dixson, an engineer and the master mind behind the day-long event, came up with the idea about four years ago, but never found anyone as enthusiastic about it until this year. A dragon boat rower, Clint ran the idea past his team, The Red Hot Chili Paddlers, and the competition was born.

“People like gingerbread houses. I think a lot of it has to do with memories and tradition and families. People have fun building these things as a family, and it’s such a positive thing to do together. There are no negative connotations to building a gingerbread house,” Clint said.

This debut competition had three categories: open, packaged kit and chef. The open category was further divided into adult and youth, and the kit category had adult, youth and family subcategories.

Clint wanted to make sure that the event offered something for everyone, young and old, creative or just a fan of gingerbread houses.

The winner of the open adult category won a prize of $500, while the second and third place finishers were each awarded a medal. The first place winner in the open youth took home $300.

Katie Pushie and her creation, The Woodland Fairy’s Tree House (pictured above) took home the first place prize in the open adult category. According to her synopsis, she achieved the crooked roof by transferring the gingerbread roof hot from the cookie sheet to a curved piece of stainless steel to cool in a gently arched shape. The roof was then covered with ice wafer tiles.

She used melted Jolly Ranchers for the windows, and Hershey’s Kisses on top of salt water taffy to make the toad stools. The stone path was made from chocolate seashell candies.

The tree stump under the house was made with layers of gingerbread and royal icing and covered with candy melts. The roots were made with Rice Crispy treats, as were the stairs.

The second place honour went to Carly Rozins. Carly also used Jolly Ranchers to make the windows, and she used upside-down ice cream cones covered in icing for the trees. The roof, apparently, was curved with the help of Carly’s summer tires, which helped dissuade viewers from sneaking a taste.

A peek inside the front door awards of glimpse of a Christmas tree inside, complete with coloured candy decorations.

Another entry that caught our eye was this Simpsons house, by Rochelle Matwechuk. The red licorice on the garage door was especially ingenious.

Here’s the tree-house, in back. The trunk is made of pretzel sticks.

And this church, by Jenn Taylor, was also cute. It’s also, perhaps appropriately, a touch more wholesome/healthy, with the Shreddies shingles and the Sesame Snaps sidewalk.

Our favourite, though, was this little cottage that we could just move right into and live happily ever after in.

Stuccoed in sliced almonds with an edging of caramels bricked in round the door, and even a puff of candied smoke billowing out of the chimney, this house was big on little details. It’s too bad there wasn’t a synopsis to tell what the shrubbery was made from, but we trust it was not wasabi.

Money raised from the event, through admission and entry fees, will help support the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and the local community.

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

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8 Comments

  1. Ditto on the cottage.

  2. How gorgeous it all is! The fairy house looks a little Seussian with that roof doesn’t it? I love the detail of the chimney smoke on the cottage.

  3. What a wonderful write-up Lori-Anne, thank you so much for coming by to our event tonight and writing such a nice article. I love the photos you took. Lovely.

    One thing I must mention is that our fellow dragon boaters will surely want me to point out that we are not ‘rowers’ but ‘paddlers’ as there is a big difference in the stroke. Oh, and as an inside joke on the boat, we are not ‘canoers’ either! lol 😉 Seriously though our team has a lot of fun and we are definitely an enthusiastic bunch.

    We are thrilled with how the event turned out and so grateful to all of our sponsors and the participants. We sent the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club home with boxes and boxes full of food items and toys for their Christmas Hampers which was a good feeling too.

    Thanks again for coming and writing a story on our event. We really appreciate it. 🙂

    Kendra

  4. I wish I had that kind of creative genius. I’m inspired to give it a try but scared to be left disappointed with my lack of creative skills. I love watching shows like Cake Boss and the “Little Chocolatiers” because I’m always left amazed at the creative thought and planning that those people come up with. Some of these Ginger bread houses are comparable with the tv shows.

  5. Thanks for sharing these great memories… I was at the event all day but somehow the details you captured in these pictures are precious on a different level 🙂
    Thanks Clinton, Kendra and the other Red Hot Chili Paddlers for making Kelowna the #Gingerbread capital of Canada
    Frithjof

  6. Thanks for the great story. What cute creations! I never took in the event, but next year… I agree. With you about the cottage, it’s adorable!

  7. Wonderful!! I was out of town this year but will be there next year for sure!

    Susan

  8. Thank-you for your comments on my “enchanted cottage”. It was alot of fun making this, just too bad that I didn’t know about a synopsis. FYI….the shrubbery was made from rice crispy squares then covered in green icing….not wasabi. Also, my thatched roof was done with sticks of gum. 🙂

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