Winterfest gingerbread contest draws 11 entriesLUVERNE — Casey Sehr’s first attempt at a gingerbread creation could certainly be deemed a success.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — Casey Sehr’s first attempt at a gingerbread creation could certainly be deemed a success.
The 7-year-old from Luverne fashioned a tiny edible cottage, with a little help from his grandmother, Becky Sehr, and was named the youth winner in the first gingerbread contest as part of Luverne’s Winterfest celebration on Saturday. The grandma-grandson duo also collaborated on a larger entry for the individual/family category, a train called the “Sehr Express,” that was also displayed in the Luverne School Commons.
“We especially had fun coming up with the shredded wheat for the roof” of the miniscule abode, noted Becky Sehr.
“I’m just glad that Grandma has patience to give him the opportunity to do it,” added Casey’s mom, Heidi Sehr.
Patience was indeed a virtue when it came to fashioning structures from food elements. Myrna Van Voorst of Luverne, who was named the winner in the individual/family category, began work on a replica of the Luverne train depot on Nov. 1.
“You have to let it dry so the walls don’t fall in,” she explained about the difficulty of constructing in gingerbread, also noting that as a working woman she had to fit the project into her busy schedule. “When you work, you have to allow plenty of time to fit it in.”
One of the most striking features of Van Voorst’s depot was its roof, fashioned from interwoven strips of candy, Sweet & Sour Nerds found at the local Dollar General store, but it was another part of the construction that was the most painstaking.
“The hardest part was making the brick walls.” she said. “It was very time-consuming to make it so it looked like real brick.”
While Van Voorst got a head start on her creation, another gingerbread architect, Kirsten Eisma, decided to enter the contest at the last minute. She began work on a two-story gingerbread mansion on Friday and got it finished in the wee hours before the Saturday entry time.
“I made the pattern yesterday noon and started working on it about 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” Eisma detailed. “We went to Sioux Falls for a couple of hours, then I came back and finished working on it at 4 a.m.”
Eisma received a help from her husband and five children in decorating their entry, but the concept and design were all hers. In spite of the late hour, the construction process went pretty smoothly, although there were a couple of frustrations.
“I had a time getting the wreath to stay up there,” she noted, pointing to a ring of evergreen-colored frosting that decorates the space above the mansion’s candy-cane pillared entryway.
The business class winner was also a family project, the work of Maggie and Joel Johnson and their children, Emily, Natalie and Abby of Brandon, S.D., who own and operate Wayne’s Body Shop in Luverne.
“It was a two-day project,” said Maggie about the structure that features a Rice Krispie treat staircase and frosting snowmen piped by the children.
“It took a while,” stressed youngest daughter Natalie. “I liked it when Mom let me put the gumdrops on.”
In all, there were 11 entries in the contest, and the winners were determined by a people’s choice vote during the Winterfest Arts & Crafts Fair.
Van Voorst planned to take her gingerbread depot home and keep it through Christmas so her granddaughter could see it, but after that she had a special plan in mind for the cookie creation.
“It’s going to sit outside on my picnic table, and the squirrels will have a merry Christmas,” she said with a laugh. “It’s fun to see the squirrels chip away at it. There are certain parts they like and certain parts they don’t like.”