Sugar, spice, and everything nice: Brome Lake’s gingerbread house contest makes a splash

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

Brome Lake recently wrapped its holiday season gingerbread house contest, displayed in the large window at the Auberge Knowlton. The gingerbread house contest started last year when Knowlton Marina owner Gerry Moar, had an idea to provide children with a little bit of Christmas joy during difficult Covid times. After helping coordinate a successful Halloween-carving contest in the fall, he thought, why not a gingerbread house contest?

“It was really neat and the kids loved it ,so after the pumpkin-carving thing, my best friend and I were walking around again and Covid was still there. Christmas and family stuff wasn’t going on so we said hey, what about a gingerbread house event and what if the Marina bought the gingerbread houses?”

Moar eventually tracked down some gingerbread-house making kits at Barnes Home hardware. “If you can’t get it at Barnes, you can’t get in anywhere. We went to Barnes and spent $500 for the first load and Lynn at La Vie Sucrée agreed to coordinate and hand them out. We got Auberge Knowlton to display them in their window and it was great because they had a lot of empty space. We said we’d do it again this year because the kids loved it, the town loved it, and it’s a great attraction for visitors walking by.”

What made this year’s event that much more special was that involved a collaboration between various businesses and individuals in the community. “This year when I went to Kevin (Barnes), he said look I want to contribute too. He gave me 1/3 off the price for the gingerbread houses and then Ariane at the Auberge said that she wanted to donate too and she bought another whack of gingerbread houses.”

Tamara Hamelin, owner of La Touche Finale, formerly la Vie Sucrée, helped coordinate and judge the gingerbread houses this year. She ran out of gingerbread house kits in about a week and then parents started pitching in. “The mothers went up to Tammy and she said I’m sorry but I’m out and they asked her can we go and buy our own?”

The Town of Brome Lake is supportive of the initiative and pitched in to purchase the prizes for all of the contest winners. “The book store is the best thing for kids. They can find games and books and Danny and Lucy are so good to the community so we wanted to support them too. We wanted to support local businesses.”

Toro Graphix also provided all participants with their very own participation ribbons and Moar even had a friend from Montreal that wanted to contribute to the event. “Here is this guy from Montreal that thought it was so great that he wanted to pay for it. The parents and everyone love it, it gives their kids a little bit of joy.”

50 people participated in the contest and winners were chosen last week, but everyone is a winner in Moar’s eyes. “You can’t really pick winners because everyone tries so hard. Every kid does their best, you can’t pick winners and that’s the problem, but Tammy and Connie did a good job trying to sort that.”

The gingerbread houses were on display in the large window at the Auberge Knowlton, but parents slowly started to pick them up last week. Check them out before they are all gone!

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