It’s certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Athens. Uptown is decorated with an array of lights and garland. And, thanks to the Uptown for the Holidays Gingerbread Display, the sweet-spicy smell of gingerbread lingers in the air.
This year, the all the entries are housed at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, which makes sense given that making gingerbread houses dates back to 16th century Europe. Even George Washington’s mom had a recipe for gingerbread (though hers was the soft, bread-like kind, not the hard, crunchy kind used in the construction projects below).
This year’s winners are:
- Grand prize professional category: Nancy Mingus, “The Kidwell Covered Bridge”
- Grand prize non-professional category: Sarah Boumphrey, “Fourth Meal-The Burrito Buggy”
- Teen First Place: Allie Holm, “Sesame Street Christmas”
- Child First Place: Sam Billerbeck Popoae, “Medieval Church”
- Group First Place: The Miller family, “Chateau Shalom”
- Children’s Group First Place: Owen, Allison, Olivia and Lauren Barnes, “Hocking Valley Candyland”
Pro Tips for Delicious Success
Although the competition for this year has ended, there’s still plenty of time to make your own gingerbread house (while also spending some time practicing for next year).
Using the right icing is key. If you’re planning on entering next year, you’ll want to get your royal icing down pat—and use lots of it:
Recipe for Royal Icing (from athensgingerbread.com, used with permission)
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
1 lb. powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 Teaspoon cream of tartar
3 and 1/2 oz. of water (slightly less than 1/2 cup)
Beat until icing forms stiff peaks and holds a sharp line when knife is drawn through.
Keep covered with damp cloth to keep icing from drying out. Work with a small amount of icing at a time. Store unused icing in a tightly closed container.
Gingerbread Display Details
The display is a great way to reflect on past and present Athens landmarks. Surely, it’s the sweetest way to think about local history.
If you’re heading Uptown during this holiday season, a stop at the Historical Society is a must. The museum is located at 65 N. Court Street and is open Tuesday–Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. with special hours on Thursdays 12 p.m.–8 p.m. through December 17.
The display is also part of Athens’ Uptown for the Holidays, a month-long celebration of the season. Get the full schedule of the Uptown for the Holidays here.