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Let the creativity begin!

Gingerbread house contest set for St. Agnes School Bazaar

Building a gingerbread house during the 2011 Holiday Village Stroll in Lake Placid (Provided photo — John DiGiacomo)

LAKE PLACID — St. Agnes School’s annual Christmas Bazaar is still on this year — with a twist.

The holiday event is happening outdoors rather than indoors next month, and for the first time ever, there’s a gingerbread house building contest with a slate of prizes on the line.

The idea for a gingerbread house contest came through a discussion with representatives of the Mirror Lake Inn, which usually hosts a similar event with houses made by Paul Smith’s College students to benefit Joy to the Children, a nonprofit organization that helps families in need by hosting a holiday party for them and donating supplies during Christmastime. Mirror Lake Inn spokesman Sandy Caligiore said the annual event usually drew upward of 400 to 500 people, and wouldn’t be held this year because “in this unusual year, health and safety had to come first.”

“We asked if we could carry it on over here,” Principal Catherine Bemis said Wednesday, Nov. 18. “We thought it would be fun for everybody to get into the holiday spirit.”

Members of the community are encouraged to get creative. The contest is going to be judged virtually by the community, according to Bemis.

Miona A. and Emily A. make wreaths in 2019. (Photo provided)

There is one category for those under 18 years old, and one for adults. Submissions must be dropped off at the school by Dec. 3.

“Anything goes, as long as it can be considered a gingerbread house,” Bemis said. “If you decide to use the materials creatively, go for it.”

The entries will be on display at the school during the bazaar — called the St. Agnes Christmas Craft Fair this year — on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entries will also be photographed and posted on the school’s Facebook page at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5. Whatever entries get the most likes in each category by 1:30 p.m. that day will be deemed the winners, according to Bemis.

The prizes include a $100 gift card to Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery for those under 18 years old, a $250 Visa gift card for those over 18, and a $50 gift card for Wyatt’s BBQ for honorable mention.

The Christmas Bazaar is usually one of the school’s fundraising events, but this year, with the coronavirus pandemic, the school decided to transition it into more of a community event to help spread some holiday cheer. The gingerbread house building contest is just one piece of it.

Pictured is the St. Agnes School 2019 kindergarten class making scarves last year. From left to right are Mackenzie C., Will S., Carraig P., Louise L., Jill M., Avery S., Ellie P. and Sam H. (Provided photos)

The school usually hosts a silent auction, but with the pandemic and the impact of it on businesses that were forced to close, the school has been hesitant to ask local businesses for donations, according to Bemis. Instead, the school is hosting a raffle for prize baskets curated by students and members of the school community. There will be a few vendors at the market, and the annual Christmas tree and wreath sale is still happening.

“We’re happy to tie (the trees) onto the roof of your car or deliver it to your house, whatever you prefer,” Bemis said.

The market will have free hot chocolate and cider, and there may be a performance from Julie Jingles, who has been performing at Santa’s Workshop in Wilmington for several years.

St. Agnes School plans to follow all public health guidance and restrictions for this event, according to Bemis.

“We’re hoping just to be able to keep the spirit alive and have some safe fun,” she said.