Dracut’s annual gingerbread event is matter of great taste


DRACUT — Rachel Antifonario sat in her kitchen late Monday morning, piecing together a snowman out of marshmallows for her granddaughter, Ella. Her husband, Frank Antifonario, was decorating a pretzel fence with the help of their other granddaughter, Olivia. Their work centered on two gingerbread houses, one of which had an edible Santa Claus fishing in a pond made of blue icing.

“We got the market cornered on pretzels,” Rachel, 65, joked after surveying the table.

“Oh my goodness,” her husband added. “We could open up a candy shop.”

The colorful gingerbread houses the Antifonarios have taken great care in decorating will soon be part of the Dracut Rotary Club’s Annual Gingerbread Competition and Display. The event, which in part raffles off the gingerbread house entries, will be held Saturday at Harmony Hall, 1660 Lakeview Ave., Dracut. Those who have not entered in the competition and are interested in a chance to win their favorite gingerbread creation can buy raffle tickets. A sheet of 20 raffle tickets costs $5, according to event chair Susan Neary.

Frank, a retired building contractor who sits on the Rotary Club’s Board of Directors, said the event’s proceeds will benefit the Dracut Food Pantry. The pantry located at 1934 Lakeview Ave., Dracut, recently received a tremendous wave of support from individual donors and businesses after a photo of an almost bare shelf was publicized in The Sun and on social media. The pantry had been at all-time lows early this month, according to volunteers.

“It’s a community service event and it’s free for the public, but we ask the public to bring canned goods for the food pantry,” said Frank of the annual competition and display, adding that monetary donations will also go to the food pantry.

According to a release, the houses will be on display Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the event will also have music, free snacks and free gingerbread cookies for children to decorate.

The entries in Saturday’s competition will not go back to the builders, Antifonario said.

“That’s not going to be our house after Saturday,” he said, pointing to a bigger gingerbread house that he and his wife began working on the week before Thanksgiving. The gingerbread home’s siding is made partly from Hershey’s chocolate bar pips, and the roof is made of candy belts. There’s even an outdoor jacuzzi tub.

“I love it,” Rachel said proudly. “I look at the house and I smile.”

For more information on the Dracut Rotary Club’s Annual Gingerbread Competition and Display, email Dracut_Rotary_Gingerbread_House@comcast.net.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.