By WARREN DILLAWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org
A candy lovers paradise, sprinkled with a little competition led to a sweet afternoon of fun during the Gingerbread Challenge at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.
“We wanted to build a holiday tradition,” said Eric Frantz, assistant general manager at the lodge. He said the goal is to have an annual event with 100 to 200 people in the ballroom of the lodge.
He said the idea was to start the event in a smaller venue, the Covered Bridge Room, and see where it goes from there. “After this year we’ll let it grow quick,” Frantz said.
Shani Ross of Shaker Heights, Lori Mikulka of Twinsburg and Shauna Krafft of Cortland try to gather once a month to catch up on life. “It’s a girls’ day out,” Krafft said while carefully applying frosting to a nearly completed gingerbread house.
“It was a blast,” Krafft said between picture taking sessions with the house as the center piece.
Competitors had two hours to create a special gingerbread work of art and were even allowed to take the house home if they so desired, Frantz said.
“It’s a family event,” said Meredith Suhar of Youngstown while working with Alyson Walters, Dana Forsythe and Melissa Lasher. Suhar jokingly said it was amazing how all their clothes ended up matching.
“It’s much harder than we thought. It’s so intricate and the candy’s on your hand not on the house,” Suhar said with a laugh.
“We needed to get out of the house,” Frances Hoover of Crestview said of her reason for participating.
“I liked it. We’ve had a good time,” said Linda Jameson of Akron.
The teams all started with a table stocked with needed materials including Hershey Kisses, colored candies, graham crackers and frosting and then the creative genes had to take over.
Kim Petrowski, restaurant manager at the lodge, said she talked with the owner of a candy store in Madison and applied her own touch. She said she picked what she thought she would need to build a gingerbread creation.
Some teams created houses while others made trains and other unique creations.
“The judges are going to come in here and look at it exactly like you leave it,” Frantz said.