The Gingerbread House Tour and Competition:
The Gingerbread House Tour and Competition is one of the reasons I love December in Sausalito. Some other reasons are the lighted boat parade, houses with Christmas lights marching up the hills, the smell of Christmas Trees from the lot in Dumphy Park. Fishing boats appear in Richardson Bay, along with swirls of seabirds.
The Gingerbread House Tour and Competition, which was started by the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce ten years ago, is special because it highlights the creativity that surrounds us. Shop owners and merchants who spend the year dealing with customers, sales, and inventory have an excuse to be whimsical and creative. They compete to create sweet, edible showpieces that are delightfully innovative.
Every year I stroll around looking at the entrants, but this year there seem to be more than ever. The event map of the event lists a total of 36. That has to be an all-time record!
Click here for a short video tour of the Gingerbread Houses that I created recently.
My Favorite Gingerbread Creations:
So far my favorites are the little model of Dumphy Park. It has green sugar grass, Swedish fish swimming in a caramel bay, and a candy cane gazebo. This confection was created by the Driver brothers at Driver’s Market. Another favorite which gets an A for effort is the surprisingly realistic gingerbread model of the Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa. The staff managed to replicate the exact blue of the shingles of the Victorian style mansion.
Every year I enjoy the creativity of Sausalito Optometry. This year’s delight is a gingerbread igloo complete with a black cat in homage to Molly, the resident feline of the establishment. Last year their creation was a beach cabana that was truly awesome.
Gr.Dano Boutique and Design Studio have created an elaborate gingerbread men mechanical race. There are fashionably dressed spectators and an underground elfin sewing studio called “Santa’s Sweatshop.” The mechanical race track theme reminds me of the mechanical horse races that you can still bet on at some of Nevada’s older casinos.
New and Old Gingerbread Houses:
One year the City of Sausalito Parks and Recreation created a gingerbread tribute to the San Francisco Giants that was truly spectacular. This year’s offering is a very cute doghouse.
And the Yoga of Sausalito, which is not participating this year, created a model of the Taj Mahal out of gingerbread and white frosting that was amazing. Last year the Barrel House Tavern downtown had a gingerbread rendition of Alcatraz Island that was remarkable as well.
In the window of Sausalito Book Passage (our new book-store-to-be at 100 Bay Street at the end of the Sausalito Yacht Harbor boardwalk) you will find a magical story-book created completely from edibles. The intricate frosting patterns imitate the tooled-leather designs of a fine old book binding. You can even read some of the story written in frosting on the open pages.
Kate Rose gathered a group of creative kids to make gingerbread houses for local merchants in Old Town, a part of Sausalito that was under-represented on the Gingerbread House Tour. The results were stellar and they dubbed themselves the “Old Town Gang.” You can read more about their exploits here.
Sausalito Picture Framing offers a charming Christmas window display. Their entry was inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night. As a painter, I can appreciate the skill necessary to recreate this masterpiece in colored frosting!
Get the Map:
So make the trip to Sausalito, get the map from the Ice House Visitor’s center, participating businesses, or http://sausalitogingerbread.com/tourmap/ and take the tour. Your eyes will be opened and your senses tickled by the range of creativity on display through December 31st, 2016. There’s even a scavenger hunt for kids with hidden items to find in each gingerbread house.