Christmas just wouldn't be the same without gingerbread houses, those delicious edible creations that add color and fun to the season. Two don't-miss displays in Connecticut's Litchfield and Fairfield Counties are guaranteed to delight, and may provide take-home decoration for some lucky families. You may even be able to create your own gingerbread confection.
This will be the 43rd year for the Gingerbread Village, a lavish display at St. George's Church on Tucker Hill Road in Middlebury beginning December 4. The Village is made up of more than 60 buildings, with horse and sleigh teams, ponds, boats, and sledders, all dressed up in Christmas splendor. This year's theme is storybooks. Everything is for sale, available to take home when the display ends on December 11. A craft room and raffles of more than 20 goody-laden baskets are an additional highlight of this event. Dates are Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dec. 5, noon-7 p.m.; Dec. 6-10, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m.; Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is Free. Phone: (203) 758-9557 for information.
The second annual Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center (www.stamfordmuseum.org) through December 5 shows off imaginative confections from some of the area's best pastry chefs, restaurants, and caterers. DiMare's Pastry Shop of Stamford, SoNo Baking Company of South Norwalk, Cake Suite of Westport, and Sugar & Olives of Norwalk are among those who are vying for first prize from a panel of official judges. Visitors are invited to vote for the "Fan Favorite" of the year. These one-of-a-kind creations will be available for purchase through a silent auction, with proceeds to benefit the museum's education programs.
Families who want to learn to make their own gingerbread houses should contact the Silo Cooking School in New Milford. Each year The Silo offers enormously popular classes where parents and their children team up to create wonderful gingerbread fantasies. The classes, open to children ages five and up, are held November 20-21, 26-28 and December 3-5; they sell out every year. The cost is $85 for each parent-child team, up to 3 people. The Silo is part of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust (www.hunthillfarmtrust.org) Check for openings or waiting lists on-line or at (860) 355-0300.
If you can't create a house, you can at least decorate a gingerbread cookie souvenir on December 4 at the Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, from 1 to 4 p.m. The $10 per family fee includes the Society's annual Great Trains exhibit. Get details at www.wiltonhistorical.org or phone (203) 762-7257. For more information about gingerbread adventures, directions to events and listings of all the holiday doings in the region, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.visitwesternct.com. They offer a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to the attractions in the Litchfield Hills and a free color Fairfield County Getaway Guide.