Goldfish Crackers swim up a deep blue river under a wharf made of pretzel sticks and graham crackers that leads to two colourful gingerbread houses dripping with icicles made of white icing.
The idyllic winter scene is the creation of Fred Armstrong, communications manager with the City of Maple Ridge, who was asked to try his hand at making a house for a fundraiser for Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.
The last time Armstrong made a gingerbread house was in 2012 for an internal contest at the city.
But, he said, at a time when everybody has to socially distance, it was a, “wonderful, blissful project”.
The scene, measuring 46 by 61 centimetres, took Armstrong 12 hours to make – six hours on Saturday and another six last Sunday.
Plus he had to sit down and plan out the scene which took him an addition 30 minutes and shop for ingredients, another hour.
He admits to having a lot of “foodie” friends from whom he has picked up tricks from over the years.
Armstrong also remembered tricks from watching cake decorating shows in TV.
But, he said, he got most of his inspiration from simply walking up and down the grocery store aisles.
He discovered wafer straws made a perfect roof, chocolate pretzels made a great fence and upside down ice cream cones made great Christmas trees.
“It’s weird because you are going out at this time of the year trying to find ice cream cones. But, thankfully the stores are well stocked,” said Armstrong.
The river was made from blue icing, but he added professional grade food colouring to give it a deep hue.
There are 20 gingerbread houses in total that will be auctioned off for the centre being donated by various local businesses.
The silent auction was the brainchild of Sandi Temple, an ambassador for Alisa’s Wish. She came up with the idea while on a Zoom call with other ambassadors.
All the houses must be completed by Dec. 1. and then photographs will be taken of them an posted onto the fundraiser’s website.
The first ever gingerbread house auction for Alisa’s Wish will start at 9 a.m. on Dec. 7 and run until 5 p.m. Dec. 16.
Starting bids will be around around $20 but will vary slightly depending on the gingerbread house.
To bid on a house go to trellis.org and look for Alisas Wish Child Youth Advocacy Centre Gingerbread House Silent Auction.
The houses can be eaten or simply kept for decor. And, Temple added, if a gingerbread house is not your thing, a cash donation will always be accepted.