Cookin', Critters and Chillun

Candied Girl Scouts and gumdrop penguins

It was only fitting that members of Girl Scout Troop 812 put themselves into their gingerbread. After all, it is their last year being able to compete in their age group.

Each scout made a miniature fondant-and-candy figure of herself to go next to the gingerbread model of the Carriage House, which is where the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce’s offices are and where the Gingerbread Competition and Festival will be on Saturday.

Girl Scout Leader Paula Jones even put herself in the scene in one corner, where she’s making a snowman, er, woman?

The gingerbread Carriage House is accurate in its dimensions and roof line. Paula’s husband, Jyke Jones, was the architect for the building’s renovation 10 years ago. He served his time as president of the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce, too.

The tree out front – made of a rosemary twig with what looks like melted green candies – is symbolic of the tree that Girl Scout troop decorates each year for the chamber of commerce. A person could stand for hours, noticing all the individual candies, edible glitter stars, colored sugar, chewing gum used as slides and pretzels with miniature marshmallows on the end for tympani mallets.

There aren’t so many entries in this years’s Gingerbread Festival competition as some years, only 13. But boy, are they detailed.

Shelley Clark has done another of her unbelievable uniquely Salem scenes. This time, it’s the Roanoke Symphony Holiday Pops concert (coming up this Friday night, Dec. 6), complete with gumdrop penguins, hand-crafted chocolate instruments she molded, tables set for dinner on the main floor of the Salem Civic Center, hundreds of marshmallow people in the audience and an array of “pop” bottles – remember the wax nips filled with different flavors?

Diane Foreman, another adult who has entered just about every year with something big and wonderful, has created a two-story bait shop. Young people under age 12 and members of East Gate Church of the Nazarene made two separate villages, one with a train. And then there’s GingerbreadOpoly.

You have to see the gingerbread scenes to believe the creativity.

Look for the Salem Fire truck that’s a segment of the Salem Christmas Parade, which is our Salem Times-Register entry. I was planning on creating the Salem Dog Park, but my doggies kept falling apart!

You can see all the gingerbread creations during the work day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the chamber’s Carriage House office in Longwood Park, or on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Gingerbread Festival between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. And you can vote for your favorites. The People’s Choice Award goes to the entry with the most $1 votes. Visitors can purchase as many votes as they want for $1 apiece and put the tickets in the jar for their favorites in the school age (12 and under), Amateur (12 and over), Professional Chef or Corporate Entry.

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