A two-and-a-half story gingerbread mansion is on display at the J-Bar-Bs Wild King Grill in Soldotna. The sweet treat took several weeks to be built and still is being added to.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
While building a gingerbread house during the holidays may be OK for some, staff at the J-Bar-B’s Wild King Grill in Soldotna took confectionery construction to a whole new level this year building what is nothing short of a gingerbread mansion.
“Everyone says they’ve never seen one so big,” said Katherine Thomas, project manager and one of several employees that donated time to the house.
The two-and-a-half story gingerbread house and its associated structures have dimensions of roughly 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet.
The structure has intricate detail including panel walls the size of cookie sheets made from 23 batches of gingerbread mixed by Doris Fachko. There also are stained-glass windows made from melted candy done by Dy Waide.
The house is adorned with gumdrops and peppermint candy, shingles of gummy rings, a chimney of chocolate-covered nuts, a lattice of yogurt-covered pretzels and a fruit roll-up walkway, just to name a few sweet features put in place by Katie Rogers, Elisha Edwards and Gina Joyce.
Surrounding the house is a think blanket of simulated snow made from 40 pounds of frosting mixed by Cherise James. There are also salt-and-flour dough people made by Austin Malston that play between inverted ice cream cone trees festooned with various candies that were designed by Cec Labadens.
“We even have a spearmint gumdrop tree for a beetle-killed spruce and we toyed with the idea of putting out pretzels to represent dead trees like a real peninsula forest,” Thomas said.
She said the gingerbread house has taken several weeks of work so far and still is a work in progress as people continue to add to it from time to time. She added that it was a fun project that allowed everyone involved to express their creativity.
“It was nice. People would come in early and add to a certain portion, then someone else would come in for a few days and work on it so you could really see everyone’s influence and see the project change and evolve,” Thomas said.
Thomas added that there is a lot of local pride in the gingerbread house, particularly since the people involved didn’t have any previous experience in construction using pastry products.
“Our only experience is what mothers and grandmothers would have,” she said.
“We decided to enchant our children and grandchildren more than anything else, but it was also part of getting into the Christmas spirit. Regulars were enthralled by it when they would come in and walk over to see the progress that we had made,” she said.
Thomas doesn’t know how much was spent on the project.
“We don’t have a true estimate of what it cost because we ate one gumdrop for every one we put on,” she said.
The eye candy will be on display at the J-Bar-B’s Wild King Grill for the remainder of the holiday season.
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