Gingerbread Extravaganza tickets sold out, festivities still available

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Ashley McCallum
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

JANESVILLE-- Building the perfect gingerbread house requires patience and a whole lot of icing.

Beth Tallon, public relations manager at Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties, and Chef Lynn Moczynski, chef instructor at Blackhawk Technical College, offered that advice in preparation of the 4th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 3 Eclipse Center, Beloit.

The key to an exceptional gingerbread house is a firm foundation, Moczynski said. She recommends leaving the house sit overnight while the icing hardens.

That's why Moczynski and students from Blackhawk Technical College's culinary arts program constructed gingerbread houses Tuesday in preparation for decorators Saturday.

After the houses have sturdy, sugary walls, decorators can “go crazy” with candy decor, Moczynski said.

It's a good idea for decorators to grab twice the amount of icing they think they'll need, Tallon said.

Attendees with tickets to decorate gingerbread houses will pick up their pre-assembled houses and select candy decorations from a candy buffet, donated by Blain's Farm & Fleet and Impact Confections, Tallon said.

“Most of our gingerbread architects are in elementary school, so the houses are sized to accommodate their attention span,” Tallon said. “They get very creative, and the goal is to get more candy onto the houses than in their bellies.”

Tickets to decorate gingerbread houses are sold out, Tallon said. Community members still can join the festivities for $5 at the door to take a picture with Santa, enjoy milk and cookies and enter raffles for prizes.

Community Action bought more materials for gingerbread houses than in years past to accommodate more people, Tallon said. Even so, the nonprofit sold out the 190 tickets for gingerbread houses quicker than before.

The event is estimated to bring in about $15,000 from corporate sponsorships and ticket sales, Tallon said. That money will go toward Community Action's poverty programs in Rock and Walworth counties.

“It's a festive way to get the word out about the impact we have on neighborhoods in Rock and Walworth counties,” Tallon said. “The obvious correlation (is) by building gingerbread houses, you're helping families in need of affordable housing and more.”

Members of Blackhawk Technical College's Epicurean Club, a culinary arts club, chose the extravaganza as its annual service project, Moczynski said.

Students will build a showpiece themed “Winter Fun at Community Kids Learning Center,” which Moczynski describes as a preschool theme.

Since the first extravaganza in 2014, Community Action has made improvements to attract more people each year, Tallon said. This year, an area for kids to run off their sugar buzzes will be available.

As a local nonprofit, Community Action sought to include local businesses in as many areas of the event as possible, Tallon said. Photography services were donated by SMR Photography, milk and cookies donated by Rock County Dairy Farmers and Old Fashion Bakery and decorations from Glitz and Go.

Last updated: 2:27 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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