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Meet Cranbrook’s gingerbread champs
Ten families descended on the Cranbrook and District Arts Council (the CDAC) recently to duke it out for the coveted title of ‘Best Decorated Gingerbread House in Cranbrook’, with the Robinson Family, skillfully self-titled ‘The Ginger Ninjas’, taking first place prize.
On the day, eager competitors were welcomed to the gallery space which had been transformed into a festive, mass-decoration station. Each family came with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the smiles on their faces and were then provided with a simple flat-pack gingerbread kit, an egg carton bursting with sweet edible decorations and bags of icing for further decoration and construction. They then had up to two and a half hours to fashion their saccharine gingerbread residences.
The Robinson family, or the Ginger Ninjas, are a local family team of four, made up of husband and wife pairing Ninja Corinna and Mike Robinson, and their children Ninja Nate and Ninja Mya. I spoke to Corinna post competition about their victory. When asked as to how they decided upon a name, the choice was put to a family vote, with Mike’s choice taking the winning vote. The family discovered the competition at the Winter Market which took place back in November, where the Cranbrook and District Arts Council were selling calendars, Christmas art cards and promoting the contest. ‘We saw the table (with the demo gingerbread house) at the winter market and the kids begged me!” admits Corinna. When informing Mike of the exciting news about the impending competition, which would naturally be a real family team effort, he responded “Really, you did what?!’
He needn’t have feared, because the Robinson family’s creative thinking, attention to detail and family teamwork really impressed the judges. The judging panel consisted of council woman Sharon Cross, recent new-comer to Cranbrook and teacher Pam Nevdoff, and local business woman Lisa Barnes of Max’s Place. Comments about the Ginger Ninja’s entry included admiration for the creativity of opening up the house, so viewers can see inside to the hand crafted candy furniture. First place prize itself was a real trophy, a signed Kootenay Ice game stick and game tickets along with a CDAC family membership and bowling for six people at Juniper Lanes, as kindly furnished by the Kootenay Ice and Juniper Lanes.
Second place prize went to ‘The Happy Hansen’s’ with judge Lisa commenting “I’d like to live here!”, and third place was awarded to The Ham Family for their good use of peppermints to fashion a tree. The McArthur family and ‘The Sheriff’s’ also picked up prizes for honorable mentions.
“It was neat seeing everyone’s creative ideas and was a great way to spend the morning with the family to get them into the spirit of the season” Corinna enthuses. She was initially surprised that this was the first time the Cranbrook and District Arts Council had run this event, but said it was great to hear that the event would potentially run again in 2014. When collecting their prize winning entry and prize goodies, Ninja Mike commented “We had a lot of fun, but you’re going to need more room next year!” and he’s right, with almost thirty six contestants cozied in to the arts council’s current space on 10th Avenue South, there wasn’t even space to throw a gumdrop let alone a gingerbread throwing star. However it did mean that everyone was close at hand to share supplies, enjoy in jokes and overcome mishaps together! But with the potential to include categories for individual artists and local businesses next year, the CDAC will definitely be looking to host the event at a larger venue.
The CDAC would like to thank all the organizations and businesses that donated prizes, the Kootenay Ice, Juniper Lanes, Leisure Services, Sweet Gestures Chocolate Shoppe, Cranbrook Downtown Business Association, the Columbia Theatre and Landmark Cinemas, Starbucks Cranbrook and Cranbrook Bulk Barn. A big thank you also goes to CDAC board members Bill McColl, Vine Madder, Jenny Humphrey and Mitchell Pocha for assisting, and of course to the hard-working CDAC volunteers Jeannette Lavoie and Sally Ruoss. Thank you to all the families for entering and competing, we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!
If you’d like more information about the Cranbrook and District Arts Council and their upcoming programming and events you can visit their website at www.cranbrookanddistrictartscouncil.com