It’s time for the 21st annual Gingerbread Contest in Belleville, Illinois. The deadline for registering is Friday, November 21, 2010. (That should be easy–21st contest, register by the 21st!) The actual gingerbread creations will be turned in on the following morning, Saturday, November 22, between 9:00 am and noon, at the Nichols Community Center, 515 East D Street, Belleville, Illinois.
Do you begin to have visions of sugarplums when the weather turns cold? Do you yearn to turn on the oven and start baking? Then put your talents and creativity to work, and build a gingerbread castle, or Santa and his elves, or, if you’re really ambitious, a replica of one of the historic buildings in the Belleville area.
As always, the decorations on your submission to the Gingerbread Contest must be edible-gingerbread of course, candy, frosting, any kind of sparkly things, as long as they’re edible. A detailed listing of rules and specifications, along with a gingerbread recipe, is available online at www.belleville.net, or in the brochure you can get from the Belleville Parks and Recreation Department Office, at 618-233-1416..
Over $2500 in prizes will be awarded to winning entries in these categories: Master’s Category (for experienced, creative bakers and culinary school students); General Category (adult bakers); Landmark/History category (adult creations of area landmarks or historic creations); Fantasy Category (let your imagination run wild); and finally, a separate Children’s Category (K-12 or specific groups), with its own prizes.
All entries will be displayed in the shop windows of downtown Belleville, Illinois, from November 23, 2010, until January 3, 2011. Because this gingerbread display will be up for about six weeks, entries must be sturdy and able to withstand sunlight and temperature changes. Spraying with a coat of clear lacquer is recommended as a way of protecting your masterpiece. Be sure to give your finished gingerbread creation a name!
Besides being a challenging competition for bakers in the Belleville, Illinois, area and beyond, the contest provides an enchanting holiday atmosphere in the storefronts along Main Street in Belleville. Every year people come from far and near to stroll the street and look at all the fascinating gingerbread creations. There is also a Gingerbread Run on December 4, and a Gingerbread Cookie Walk on December 11, 2010 .
The gingerbread tradition harks back to the Belleville of the mid-19th century, when it was a city of 6,000 German immigrants, a “gingerbread village” with German buildings and culture. The “Schwobebaker” on Main Street, for example, was a saloon and bakery that sold beer and a piece of gingerbread for five cents. That would be a nice custom to revive! The baker’s wife could often be seeing walking along Belleville’s streets, with a basket on her head, delivering gingerbread and other baked goods.
So start making those visions of sugarplums into specific plans involving gingerbread! Enter the Downtown Belleville 21st Annual Gingerbread Contest 2010. Get your registration form at the City of Belleville website, or by calling the Belleville Parks and Recreation Department.
Be sure to turn in your registration form by Friday, November 19, 2010, and deliver your gingerbread creation between 9:00 and noon the next morning to the Nichols Community Center, 515 East D Street, Belleville, Illinois. Have your creation all finished; construction is not permitted on site, only minor repairs.
Did I mention the $2500 worth of prizes, with $500 for Best of Show? That’s a pretty good incentive for you bakers. Or, if you’re like me and just want to experience some of the traditional German culture and see all the pretty gingerbread houses, take a walk in the footsteps of the baker’s wife and view the gingerbread on Main Street in the Belleville storefronts between November 23, 2010, and January 3, 2011.
Look for some really creative gingerbread entries. This is a holiday tradition that is delightful, delectable, and unique!
Downtown Belleville 21stAnnual Gingerbread Contest 2010 brochure from Belleville, Illinois, Parks and Recreation Department (618-233-1416)
City of Belleville, Illinois, website