What started as a quiet get together to celebrate the Christmas season has grown to encompass many families and participants in a local holiday event. A group of friends gathered Saturday night at Jane’s Lunch, but Mitzi Meyers wasn’t cooking. Mitzi had donated use of her space to the group for their gingerbread house decorating competition. As construction began around 5:00PM, all the tables were packed with eager confection designers and colorful materials . Participants ranged in age from 14 to 70 and everyone was in the holiday spirit flexing their creative muscles designing the ultimate gingerbread house.
“This started out as a friendly little get together last year in the basement of Kelly’s house and this year it has become this big huge competition and we needed a bigger space.” said participant Amy Heflin.
The event is organized by Kelly Lake and is in its second year. As she worked with her teammate Cari Sheetz building their house she explained the competition.
“Mitzi will put the gingerbread houses in the front window and the houses will be numbered. Then there will be cups with numbers on them, so whichever house you like, just make a donation of your choice in the cup.” The cup with the most money in it at the end of the competition is the winner. The prize for the winner? “Bragging rights, which is worth more than any prize,” said Kelly.
Designs ranged from simple to ambitious. Two men started on a football stadium but soon decided to lower the bar and go with a traditional house. Zach Shiley was the resident landscaping designer with green frosted Christmas trees on ice cream cone bases. Grant Shaw was busy cutting up red Twizzlers to use as bricks embedded into white frosting.
Funds raised by the competition will go towards the Clarke Senior Center Meals to purchase meals and foods. Kelly said, “Last year we raised over $200 dollars for FISH of Clarke County.”
The event drew much greater interest this year but Kelly knew she would need more space for the group to work so she contacted her friend Mitzi Meyes, the proprietor of Jane’s Lunch on Main Street.
Mitzi said, “I grew up with everybody and they are good customers and they needed a space so I said here’s the keys and have fun. That’s the beauty of a small town.”
Indeed it is a characteristic of Berryville that makes it a very special town. The facility was free to the group and was cared for like it was their own. “I heard this place was a disaster. They said there were like 25 people and it looked like a bag of sugar had exploded, but when I came in yesterday morning it was perfect,” Mitzi said.
The houses will be on display through the end of the year. Stop in and vote with your wallet. It’s a great new tradition that is a terrific example of what Berryville is all about.
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