Elaborate gingerbread creations arise from imagination, hard work

Where: Abe and Jake’s, 8 E. Sixth St.

When: Auction takes place at 7 p.m. Dec. 4; Public viewing takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 and from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7.

Don’t expect your grandma’s gingerbread houses at the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Gingerbread Festival.

The annual fundraiser includes gingerbread houses that accomplished architects could take pride in, said Stacie Schroeder, the area director for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters will auction off the top 15 gingerbread houses on at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Abe and Jake’s, 8 E. Sixth St. The event will also include a silent auction that will feature about 75 other gingerbread houses.

Tickets to the auction are $40.

“We generally raise around $40,000,” Schroeder said. “We’ve had houses sell for over $2,000.”

The gingerbread houses will be open for public display at Abe and Jake’s from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 and from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7.

“These creations are amazing,” Schroeder said. “Some people work on them for four to five months in advance.”

Clark Fulton has participated in the Gingerbread Festival for the past six years. Last year he created a gingerbread carousel for the competition.

“My wife and I both like carousels so we decided to give it a shot,” Fulton said.

Fulton has won the gingerbread competition three times. He said he loves to plan and build a new gingerbread creation each year.

“Probably my favorite part is figuring out what I’m going to do and designing it in my head,” Fulton said.

Fulton said he spends more than two months and about 200 hours on each gingerbread house he creates.

“It’s kind of in your head year round,” he said. “I can’t really start much construction until fall when the humidity lets up a bit.”

Schroeder encourages everyone to come out and see this year’s gingerbread creations. All of the money from the event will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County.

“It benefits the kids directly in our community,” Schroeder said.