Winter 2011

Lots of places feature colorful gingerbread houses for the holidays, but Kent, Connecticut goes a step further.

The whole town will take part in the second annual Kent Gingerbread Festival from November 25 to December 30. Everyone is invited to follow the Gingerbread Walk through town to view imaginative and ingenious gingerbread delights in over 50 shop windows. Visitors can enjoy the displays as they stroll, then vote for their favorite creations at the Gingerbread Station, 1 Kent Green Boulevard. The station will have its own displays of entries from the local gingerbread baking contest and will also offer baking and craft classes Phone (860) 927-1463 for schedules. Besides gingerbread displays, Kent will have special events every weekend, from pancakes with Santa to caroler and a Messiah sing-along.

MORE SWEET TREATS

Kent has the biggest show, but Connecticut's Litchfield and Fairfield Counties offer several other impressive gingerbread displays guaranteed to delight, as well as the chance to take home some of the prize creations or make your own gingerbread confection.

More than 60 buildings, with horse and sleigh teams, ponds, boats, and sledders, all dressed up in Christmas splendor will be featured at the 44th annual Gingerbread Village, a lavish display from December 3 to 10 at St. George's Church on Tucker Hill Road in Middlebury. Everything is for sale, available to take home when the display ends. Admission is Free. Hours are Saturday, December 3rd 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, Sunday, December 4th, Noon to 8 p.m., Monday, December 5th to Friday, December 9th 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 10th, 10a.m.to 4 p.m. Call (203) 758-9557 for information.

The third annual Visions of Gingerbread at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center November 12 through December 18 shows off imaginative confections made by some of the area's best pastry chefs, restaurants, and caterers. DiMare's Pastry Shop of Stamford, SoNo Baking Company of South Norwalk are among those who are vying for first prize from a panel of special judges. These are far from ordinary houses; one of the past displays was a perfect miniature of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence, Italy. Visitors are invited to vote for the "Fan Favorite" of the year. Learn more at www.stamfordmuseum.org.

MAKE YOUR OWN

Those who are inspired to make their own gingerbread houses should contact the Silo Cooking School in New Milford. Each year The Silo offers classes for parents and children (ages 5 and up). There are classes also for adults, who enjoy appetizers and mulled wine as they assemble their architectural masterpieces. Classes are held several times on November 25-27, December 2-4 and December 9-10. The cost is $85 for each adult team or each parent-child team, up to 3 people. The classes sell out every year but would-be bakers can check for openings or waiting lists at (860) 355-0300. The Silo is part of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust so they are found on-line at www.hunthillfarmtrust.org/index.php?/silo/cooking)

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.