The heat is on, and preparations for the seventh Annual Gingerbread Spectacular are keeping the region’s kitchens working late into the evening, and the bribing of judges has reportedly begun. Everything will be revealed at the Dough Ball preview party on Friday, Dec. 13.
For a few short weeks in December, Boothbay Harbor’s historic Opera House becomes the center of gingerbread house activity on the Midcoast.
From the first formal class in gingerbread house building offered in November, to the informal and often secretive conversations among builders, to the sweet decorating and finally to the great reveal during the Dough Ball preview party, the Opera House becomes all things gingerbread. This year’s Dough Ball party is followed by the Gingerbread Spectacular on Dec. 14 and 15.
Nearly two dozen bakers and confectionery architects have already signed up to enter this year’s exhibit and competition. The rules are simple and available by contacting the Opera House. There is still room for additional entrants.
All creations must be edible (no frosting coated cardboard structures) and the only size limitation is that they must fit through the Opera House’s door before being displayed in the performance hall.
It is free to enter and bakers may either retrieve their creations after the weekend’s festivities or offer them up for auction to help raise funds for the Opera House.
Prizes are awarded each year for not only the Most Spectacular, but also in categories ranging from Best Representation of a Local Landmark to Most Hilarious to Best Holiday Spirit. Gingerbread house creators receive tickets to the Dough Ball preview party where the winners are announced.
The judges for this year’s competition were announced and include local garden professional Doug Fraher who will take notice of the landscaping details of the entries along with fellow gardener Trish Monroe, builder Dick Perkins who served as a judge in 2012 and reported “it’s harder than you think because there are so many contenders for Most Spectacular,” Southport’s Code Enforcement Officer Jim Gagnon who may spy a few code violations, food maven Laura Francis, and retired school headmaster Brad Hastings who was awarded last year’s famed Booby Prize.
Bribing of the judges is not only allowed but encouraged. All bribes become the property of the Opera House in this fun night of fundraising.
Tickets for the Dough Ball are available through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Ave. or by calling 633-5159. Advance tickets are $20, tickets purchased on the day of the party are $30.
Dress is anything from flannel shirts to tuxedos and the party starts at 7 p.m., with winners announced at 8 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres will be provides by The Friends of the Opera House and will include both savory and sweet items. Music to listen to and dance to is courtesy of Barney Balch’s Sheepscot Jazz & Swing Quartet.
If attending the Dough Ball, bring a little cash to bid on the fun silent auction items including original artwork, a luxury weekend at the Greenleaf Inn, rope mats created by local crafters, and much more.
Doors for the seventh Annual Gingerbread Spectacular open the next day on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.
The exhibit is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is free for all ages. Donations to help defray the expense are happily accepted. Free cocoa, an enormous bake sale and ongoing entertainment throughout the day make this one of the best holiday stops of the season.
Many of the gingerbread houses will be available for sale or auction as well, so even the non-baker can end up with one of these magical creations.
Currently the holiday entertainment during the Spectacular will be provided by Kevin Kiley and his piano students, Dominic Garney, Meredith Duke, Melissa Nein’s YMCA dancers, and the BRHS voices under the direction of Genie O’Connell. There is still room in the schedule for community residents to bring their talent to the stage. Please contact the Opera House for additional information at 633-6855.