Playing with dough at the Opera House
For more than a decade the holiday season in Boothbay Harbor has included a highly anticipated, one-of-a-kind display of gingerbread houses and castles and more at the Opera House during the annual Gingerbread Spectacular. This year’s festivities kick off on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Dough Ball Party & Awards Ceremony, and continue on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16 and 17.
While the number of entries into this year’s Gingerbread Spectacular will not be known until they all arrive in time for the judging at the Dough Ball, in past years the main performance hall at the Opera House has been filled with dozens of confectionery masterpieces. Novices and professionals, families and businesses, young and old – every structure, be it large or small, is an original and worth viewing. Those interested in making an entry for this year’s display are asked to contact the Opera House at 633-6855 for entry details but are reminded that structures must be made of edible materials, even if they are not entirely constructed out of gingerbread.
Entries may be delivered on Thursday, Dec. 15 or the morning of Friday, Dec. 15.
Each creation may be a wonder on its own and worthy of accolades, but a carefully selected panel of judges will determine the winner of the 2017 Most Spectacular Award as well as other awards including Best Representation of a Local Landmark, Most Delicious!, The Largest, Most Ingredients Used, Best Landscaping, Best Traditional Gingerbread House Design, as well as other categories. Bakers and their associates are encouraged to bribe the judges in advance, with all cash bribes becoming donations to the non-profit Opera House.
The 2017 judges include Small Gingerbread Home Loan Officer Brenda Blackman (of The First National Bank), Gingerbread Matriarch Pat Kiley, Preacher & Peacekeeper among the judges Kit Sherrill, Boothbay Harbor hospitality maven Bonnie Stover (of the Tugboat Inn), and Candy Man Arthur Webster (Orne’s Candy Store). The awards will be announced at the Dough Ball on Dec. 15.
In addition to the regular prize categories, this year a new challenge has been issued to the freshman-senior classes at Boothbay Region High School, with a financial prize going to the class treasury for the class that makes the most memorable gingerbread creation in the opinion of the judges.
The Dough Ball has been called “the most fun party of the season.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for an evening featuring Barney Balch and the Novel Jazz Quartet, a bounty of hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and an opportunity to see the 2017 Gingerbread Spectacular entries while they are still fresh. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $30 at the door and available at the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue or by calling 633-5159. Specially priced Opera House member tickets are available for $10 in advance only.
In past years dress has been anything from jeans to holiday gowns. The evening is a fundraiser for the Opera House with proceeds going towards the ongoing maintenance of the historic building and programming for the 2018 season. The Dough Ball and the Gingerbread Spectacular weekend are made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from The First National Bank.
Following Friday night’s kick-off festivities, the doors to the Gingerbread Spectacular are open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend is free for all ages and includes performances by community groups including the YMCA dancers and the Community Band. The Friends of the Opera House will also have their dazzling holiday bake sale going through the Dough Ball and Spectacular but buyers are urged to come early for the best selection from this talented group of bakers.
The Gingerbread Spectacular Weekend is one of the featured events during this year’s Festival of Lights in Boothbay Harbor. For additional information visit the Opera House website boothbayoperahouse.com or for information on other activities in the region visit boothbaylights.com.