Community Youth Development (CYD) held its seventh annual Gingerbread Festival Dec. 11 to 13 at the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. Community groups, clubs and even individuals submitted gingerbread houses to the festival.
CYD provides the tools to empower youth as leaders in service through leadership training programs and youth-led volunteer work. The Gingerbread Festival has a $1 admission fee and all the proceeds go to the CYD organization.
This year there were over 150 gingerbread houses displayed that were created by youth organizations as well as local businesses. Once submitted to the festival, the houses were ranked by a panel of judges. First, second and third place winners were recognized for each of the elementary, middle and high school categories. On Saturday there was a ceremony for the winners. The public was also encouraged to vote for their favorite gingerbread houses. People could also vote online by going to cydonline.com/gingerbread. Minnah Stein, tenth-grader and a CYD member, said, “During the festival, people put money in for which house they thought was the best, and then the houses were auctioned off.”
There are a variety of groups and organizations that submitted gingerbread houses to the festival this year. This included Girl Scouts, as well as different elementary school classes and several Pine View groups. Pine View’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) club displayed a house, as well as the Art Club, the Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD) Club and math teacher Cathy Hollar’s classes.
One of the houses that was submitted by Hollar was made by the sixth-grade student astronauts. This house won first place in the middle school category.
The Art Club submitted a gingerbread house as well. This house, called “Monet’s Cottage,” won first place in the high school division.