by ANNA RABHAN
If light-festooned palm trees and surfers sporting Santa hats aren’t inspiring the holiday cheer you’d hoped for this year, there’s an event going on right now that is guaranteed to get you into the spirit of the season!
The Jacksonville Historical Society’s Gingerbread Extravaganza opened on November 30 and runs through December 22. The exhibit features traditional gingerbread houses, along with other gingerbread creations built by area chefs, architects, school groups and individuals.
The dozens of entries for this year’s show include at least six depicting local historic buildings, all created from gingerbread and confection. Among them are the Carnegie Library and the city’s oldest house, the Richard House. Although the holiday theme pervades the entire show, other entries include storybook, fantasy, traditional and religious themes.
“You’ll see the most amazing gingerbread creations at this show,” says Historical Society Executive Director Emily Lisska. “The Extravaganza presents a gingerbread wonderland. Past shows have even included the stadium, Times Square and grand carousels. Visitors can engage in a scavenger hunt to add to the fun.”
Another dimension to the festivities can be found next door at the Merrill House Museum. It is decorated for the holidays and offers a look at life in Jacksonville a century ago. The video available for viewing during the Extravaganza also features Christmases past in Jacksonville. The Extravaganza’s gift shop showcases area history with Jacksonville-themed Christmas ornaments and some local history books that are in short supply or that are no longer in print. What perfect gifts for the local-history buff in your life, and what a wonderful feel-good holiday event for all ages!
The Jacksonville Historical Society’s Gingerbread Extravaganza, in its fourth year at the JHS Old St. Andrew’s headquarters on A. Philip Randolph Boulevard, is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily, except Sundays. A donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children is requested, and parking is free. For more information, call 665-0064 or visit www.jaxhistory.com. Call ahead for large-group scheduling.
The Jacksonville Historical Society's Gingerbread Extravaganza
by ANNA RABHAN