The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 7, 2012

It’s a sweet time to visit Conneaut Public Library

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT —  A common question at Conneaut Public Library these days is  “How many gingerbread crackers are needed to tile and shingle a nine-foot tall house?”

When the staff answers “100 boxes,” they speak from first-hand experience.

Perched in the lobby of the library at 304 Buffalo St., is a gigantic, cardboard house completely clad in crackers, cookies and candy. It’s big enough to accommodate Hansel AND Gretel. The scrumptious structure nearly touches the ceiling.

“People absolutely love it,” said Kathy Pape, the library’s director. “They are amazed.”

The house is the centerpiece of a gingerbread-themed month of activities at the library.

Planning for the project began months ago. A call went out for contributions of materials, and the library soon received a gift of cardboard sheets from CSP in Conneaut, and boxes upon boxes of gingerbread crackers. Pape and co-workers Stephanie Gildone and Cindy Prather created “blueprints” and drawings to guide the construction.

Work began after Thanksgiving, and over the next 10 days the trio assembled the house and then hot-glued crackers to the cardboard walls and roof. Cookies, candy canes and other sweets were attached to create a festive facade.

Other decorative touches have been added, including a holiday mailbox perched on a post fashioned from books, as well as landscaping and “snow” on the roof. The house was designed to support the weight of all the goodies.

“When (the house) was just cardboard, you could push it around easily,” Pape said. “You would be surprised how much 100 boxes of crackers weigh.”

The house will be on display well into 2013, Pape said.

“It’s not coming down for awhile,” Pape said. “It will stay here throughout the winter.”