Tag: Gingerbread

Conversation with a Gingerbread Gentleman

Conversation with a Gingerbread Gentleman

Gingerbread Gentlemen 003
Gingerbread Gentleman

If you travel Chester streets these days, you will probably notice the Gingerbread People.  These characters have seemingly come out of nowhere and now appear almost everywhere.  You can find them lurking about on private residence lawns as well as around commercial businesses.  Whatever is going on?  Lawns are supposed to be vacant this time of year, not leasing their space to these usurpers– no matter how sweet they are.

When interviewed, a Gingerbread Gentleman  claimed that these seasonal confections have been welcomed here for the past five years, causing enough of a stir to elicit what has become known as the Chester Gingerbread Festival.

Celebrations began Saturday, November 30th when the Gingerbread population inspired a tree lighting at the old Chester Train Station with visitors singing Christmas carols, enjoying hot chocolate, and even a visit from Santa himself.    And you wouldn’t believe the extraordinary accommodations these characters inspire.  Visitors can check them out at the Chester Art Centre until the end of the festival, December 15th . Be warned, however, that you may experience an urgent need for a trip to the local bakery to indulge the confectionery cravings they will likely evoke.  You’d have thought that Christmas would have been sweet enough without all this gingerbread furor.  “Nothing can top the Christmas message, of course,” the Gingerbread Gentleman said reassuringly.  “We only aim to make a modest contribution.”   Undoubtedly, though, their contribution keeps on expanding, despite the modest claim, as locals have been encouraged to increase their numbers.  With this writing, lawns and gardens have hereby been put on notice about this recurring invasion.  The Gingerbread Gentleman just smiled coyly at this impeding threat, and whispered what could be deemed by some candy aficionados as  sweet wisdom,   “What garden couldn’t use a little more spice?”

You will discover the Gingerbread population and their accoutrements making a genuine spectacle of themselves on Facebook at Chester Gingerbread Festival, NS, as well as on the website:  chesterartcentre.ca.  The Gingerbread Gentleman has invited his peers to check out these sites as well.  He says they will, no doubt, see someone they know and enjoy a visit over icing and candy.  They should be quick to go because everyone knows you can always trust the word of a gentleman.

Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses

The Gingerbread House competition in Chester drew a record 18 entries this year, with stiff competition coming from young and old alike. Organized by the the Chester Merchants Association, in collaboration with the Municipality,  the competition produced an amazing collection of edible masterpieces. 

Child's entry - Christmas in Egypt

To enter the contest, contestants had to ensure that every item in the construction was made of an edible substance. Creative minds incorporated everything from jellied candies to pretzel sticks along with the standard sugar confections. 

A sweet-tooth bakery
A seasonal scene with a creche by a church
This elaborate house is titled "Chez Gigi, partie deux"

The above photos are just a sampling of the many charming creations that contributed to this enjoyable fund-raiser instituted to help provide young people in the community with the opportunity to particpate in local sports and arts programs. A few of the contestants are also gardeners and have perhaps honed their talents by competing in the Chester Garden Club’s annual Flower Show.

Bloom Day North – December

Bloom Day North – December

Most of the blooms and greenery seen in the Chester area at this time of year are boughs of evergreens or holly, but there is one shrub that is perverse enough to put forth its floral contribution only in the late fall. The pale yellow spidery petals of these flowers add an ethereal  effect to our gardens in December.

Hamamelis virginiana

I must offer a a small confession:  although these same blossoms are still present on these branches today – Bloom Day, the 15th of the month – the photos were actually taken a few days ago. Whether known by its Latin name (Hamamelis) or its more common moniker (witch hazel),  the shrub adds a feathery touch to the bare bones of a December garden.

Witch hazel weaves a tangled web

In response to popular demand (well,  a few puzzled queries), I’m adding a few more photos of the gingerbread folk which have been showing up in many locations around the village in recent weeks.

Waiting for the parade


Gingerbread cookies' home base


Snuggled under a hand-made quilt

In the next post, we hope to have some photos of the many gingerbread houses that have been on display in various locations during the last week. The prize winners will be announced on Saturday afternoon, December 17, during the pre-Christmas family party at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre.

Gingerbread Tradition in Full Swing

Gingerbread Tradition in Full Swing

Shops  and other commercial enterprises around the village have added a whimsical component to the streetscapes in recent weeks.  A fairly recent tradition, the Gingerbread Festival was started by the Chester Merchants Association as a fun way to raise funds to ensure recreation opportunities are available for children and young people who would not ordinarily be able to afford the cost of participation. The “PRO Kids” Program is administered by the Chester Municipal Recreation and Parks Department. A number of members of the Garden Club are involved with this project.

In addition to the collection of gingerbread boys and girls seen by the doorways and by-ways, members of the business community vie for the honour of producing the most beautiful or fanciful gingerbread house. The model houses are on display at many businesses during the next week and members of the public get to vote for their favourite.  A silent auction also offers the public a chance to bid on their favourite house. The winners will be announced at a community Christmas party to be held on December 17 at St Stephen’s Parish Community Centre, where the final stage of the silent auction will determine the highest bidders.  All the proceeds from the auction will go to Pro Kids.  A  small sample of the many many gingerbread figures are included here to give viewers a taste of community spirit.

Figures on the balcony of the Playhouse wear comedy and tragedy masks.
The GingerSnaps play carols, Dixie style, above the tavern.


To close this post we include a night shot of the village bandstand that we had featured in the previous post. The Christmas lights on the green garlands help to lighten the darkest of winter nights.