Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Sweet Creations! Display Your Decorated Gingerbread at Vesterheim
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Sweet Creations! Display Your Decorated Gingerbread at Vesterheim

This is a picture of the first gingerbread house I ever made. It was 18 years ago and there have been many gingerbread creations in my life since. Back then, I found a recipe and pattern from a book at the library, but now you can find thousands of ideas online, especially on sites like Pinterest.

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah is hosting a Gingerbread Fair this year, free for viewing at the museum’s Bruening Visitor Center from December 2, 2016, through January 2, 2017.

They’d love to include your creation in the display. The only criteria are that the materials are all edible and the base is no bigger than a large pizza box. You can include houses, cabins, barns, city buildings, animals, cars, buses, boats, trains, people, trees—anything.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:

• My first house was made with 2 kids and 5 adults. This is a good ratio and making gingerbread creations is as much fun for adults as it is for kids.

• I suggest Royal Icing to “glue” the parts together. It’s far superior to any other frosting glue I’ve found. It does have raw eggs in it, but you’re not going to want to eat your creations anyway, are you?

• There are no rules. Feel free to use pre-made house parts, graham crackers, pretzels—as long as your materials are edible.

• The best part is finding creative edible materials to use as decorations.

Gingerbread is popular in many areas of the world, but the gingerbread house tradition originated in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection, which included “Hansel and Gretel.” In medieval Europe, gingerbread was sold in pretty shapes at fairs, which later became known as Gingerbread Fairs. Over the years, many towns have started their own gingerbread cities and the one in Bergen, Norway, is claimed to be the world’s largest.

So start making gingerbread and bring it to Vesterheim’s Bruening Visitor Center at 502 W. Water St. between November 25 and December 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I’m so excited to see your creations!

  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    This sounds absolutely delightful! Thanks for keeping us in the loop, on the Imagine Northeast Iowa blog!

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