Dracut Gingerbread Competition Sweetens Pantry Coffers
DRACUT -- A sweet success? No doubt.
The Dracut Rotary Club’s 12th Annual Gingerbread Competition drew a big crowd for a community cause.
Hundreds of people attended the free Dec. 1 event at Harmony Hall to see dozens of gingerbread creations and pick their choices for first-, second- and third-place winners. Attendees had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets for a chance at winning a gingerbread house, and proceeds from the competition will go to the Dracut Food Pantry.
“It was so heartwarming to see so many people get pleasure out of it, and that’s really why we do it,” said LouAnn Jendro, public relations chair for the Rotary Club. “And of course we’re trying to raise whatever we can for donations for the food pantry. That’s really our cause, but in actuality it’s (the gingerbread competition) our gift to the community for the holiday season.”
Jendro last week said it’s too early to tell how much money the club will donate to the pantry because the board hasn’t met yet, but in the past it has donated up to $500 after expenses.
This year’s gingerbread creations were among some of the best ever, according to event chair Susan Neary.
In the professional category, Bittersweet Bake Shop (located at 9 Kendall Road, Tyngsboro) won first place, Sugar Coated Bakery (located at 1794 Bridge St., Dracut) won second place, and Collette Turgeon won third.
Lynne Donnelly, who owns Bittersweet Bake Shoppe, said it was fun working with Elisbet Dupont, her cake decorator and “right arm.” Little by little, they labored over what Donnelly called their “version of a Grinch Christmas” -- a “house that looked crooked and happy and colorful.”
“It kind of looks like something from Whoville,” said Donnelly, referring to the fictional town appearing in Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Donnelly said the children’s story has always been her favorite and that she’s always been fond of the Grinch himself and his dog.
“I can tell you that there are pounds and pounds of gingerbread and royal icing and candies in that thing,” Donnelly said. “It was really nice to have a project like that to do and it made me feel good that the proceeds go to the Dracut Food Pantry.”
Jennifer Gryckiewicz, owner of Sugar Coated Bakery, said it was shocking to place second. It was the Dracut bakery’s first time entering the Rotary competition.
“Gingerbread is not a thing that I do very often, so we definitely thought outside the box,” she said.
As a nod to her adoration of cats, Gryckiewicz designed a gingerbread cat tower, complete with cats lounging around. The baker said she wanted to do something different.
“All of the houses that were there were fantastic,” Gryckiewicz said. “I was super-impressed with some of the quality of the work.”
In the amateur category Tricia and Lauren Natale placed first place, John Cole placed second and Joanne Smith third. There were also categories for young adults, children and Rotarians.
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.