The village that gingerbread built

Derek Lenehan

Hospitality management students set up display in Student Center

Junior communications major Katie Ridinger looks over the delectable rooftops of the gingerbread village in the Student Center.

Credit: Jason Hall

More than 500 pounds of gingerbread, 600 pounds of frosting, $700 worth of candy and a whole lot of love.

When mixed by 42 hospitality management students, the finished product is an elaborate holiday decoration in the Student Center.

Hospitality management students assembled their annual Gingerbread Village for the 25th year in a row yesterday, with more than 30 students helping to assemble the creation.

The village consisted of 42 buildings, dozens of trees, roads, a lake and a river.

The project is a part of the Food Production 2 class and is worth a large portion of the students’ grades, said Donna Ward, assistant to Chef Ronald Perkins, the event’s main planner.

Craig Ryan, junior hospitality management major, said that the students had been working hard on the houses.

“I’ve spent about seven hours on mine,” he said. “But a lot of students have spent between 10 and 15 hours on them.”

Stephanie Morse, junior hospitality major and general manager of the project, also spoke of the students’ efforts.

“It’s very strenuous work, but our team came together and really tackled the job,” she said.

The funding for the project was partially covered by the class cost, and partially from donations, Perkins said.

“The labor is also reasonably inexpensive,” he added, with a smile.

Additional features, such as the lakes, trees, and roads, were added to the village right in the Student Center, in addition to a layer of frosting that fused the entire village together. Several students made an improvised silo on a farmhouse, consisting mostly of cereal and icing. A light dusting of powdered sugar was also added.

A few moments of tension were felt when the three separate tables holding sections of the village had to be pushed together, but no damage occurred.

Gerald Miller, also a junior hospitality management major, described the event as fun and memorable.

“It was really fun,” he said. “We’ll never forget those nights that we were all up from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. working on these together. It’s the college life.”

The village will be displayed in the Student Center throughout the holiday season.

Contact news correspondent Derek Lenehan at [email protected].