Celebrating its 30th season, this year’s festival will be held Friday-Sunday, November 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2016. DetailsWith a companion Gingerbread House Competition to boot, we at New England Fall Events were intrigued to check it out first-hand. As a fall event resource, we don’t usually attend many Christmas-focused events but with more and more festivals extending their holiday season to include November, this particular event lands squarely during our fall season.
The Gingerbread House Competition is exhibited in the furthest corner of the expo hall which also has the advantage of being set apart from the volume of shoppers. The entrants to the gingerbread house competition are designed and constructed by local bakers and top chefs. In addition to competing for the top prizes, the gingerbread houses themselves are donations which are auctioned off to businesses who wish to display these houses in their foyers and lobbies during the holiday season. The recipient of the funds raised from the auction is Housing Families, Inc
One of the best representations featuring classic baked gingerbread itself was the Make Way for Ducklings display by Sweet Things , recipient of the award for Most Creative. The renowned Flour Bakery submitted a quaint farm scene complete with a red barn and Boston’s Blackbird Doughnuts’ log cabin was crafted using a combination of pirouline rolled wafers, pretzels, graham crackers, and fondant.
Cupcake City from Reading, MA received the awards for “Best Tasting” and “Best in Show” with their stunning pastel candyland representation of “Whoville” from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. CitiPerforming Arts Center and Brookline’s Party Favors teamed up for a house and in the process earned honors for “Best Decoration” with their Santa’s Workshop interior and Rudolph-themed outdoor scene.
|Jingle Nog Glass Ornaments on display|
|Twice as Nice Mittens booth|
|Apiary Designs' lovely apron selection|
One of our favorite vendors was Boxford, MA’s Twice as Nice Mittens where we picked up a second pair of toasty mittens sewn from recycled wool sweaters—we already own a pair and can attest to their reliable warmth and fun-loving style.
|NH artist Erin Moran's colorful pinched bowls, plates, pitchers, and mugs were a feast for the eyes.|
|Pink Pigeon's messy mags were a hit.|
Portsmouth, NH artist Erin Moran’s booth was chock-full of vibrantly colored pinch pot cups, mugs, sundae bowls, lidded jars, dessert plates, platters, and snowmen ornaments. The bright glazes, polka dotted designs, simple patterns, and functionality combine to make her wares totally irresistible. If we could have purchased every item in her booth that day, we would have.
|Dave's Woodshop's stunning baskets.|
|Muddy Mary's bloody mary "mud"|
mixes were wrapped and ready to go.
|L to R: Bags of Boonie Doon's delicious shortbread; Jarva Cakes sold in a jar; ready to cook soup mixes.|
|McCrea's Candies' caramel gifts|
Holiday-themed food gifts have the edge at the festival—you’ll have options such as peppermint bark, a variety of fancy kettle corn, holiday cookies, Maine’s own Jarva Cakes, Boston’s McCrea Candies’ tasty caramels, and the most outstanding shortbread we’d ever tasted from VT’s Bonnie Doon’s Scottish Shortbread. The Farmer’s Market is also where the Wakefield, MA’s Gingerbread Construction Company booth is located—perfect for buying or gifting a ready-to-decorate gingerbread house. Many savory food booths featured holiday hosting appetizer ideas and small hostess gifts. These booths cover gourmet nuts, BBQ rubs and sauces, dip mixes, soup mixes, RI’s Gerbs Allergen Friendly Foods, sauces, dog treats, hot sauces, relishes, pepper jellies, and similar fare.