Words, Photos And Ginger Spirit By Andrew Bucket
The Gingertown 2013 World Games brings local architects, engineers and builders together for one night to create a huge gingerbread sports village. Hundreds of pounds of sugary building materials, such as icing, jelly beans, sprinkles and gumdrops, make up the sugary town.
Following its assembly, Gingertown will be on display for the public to enjoy for several days before its individual structures are donated, together with cash contributions, to area nonprofits.
My walk to Gingertown begins with hunger. I had no food in the house and walking from Bloomingdale to 13th street that thing happened where I didn’t want food from any place I passed, nothing seemed delicious enough.
I had Scroogey misgivings about Gingertown anyway, like it would be a bunch of redheaded engineers drinking Schweppes and silently slicing exact angles of cookie and fusing them with a caulk gun of frosting so to look like a gastronomic Frank Gehry.
The directions were vague “retail spaces at 13th and U,” and at the corner I only saw Starbucks and a dry cleaner. I walked to every corner and didn’t see anything. I asked some pea coats if they knew where I could find Gingertown and got a curt “no,” like I was asking after a raw foods sex club. I was still starving. I wanted to just give up and eat pizza.
But lo! Across the street were a few people in Santa hats by a doorway. The storefront windows were covered with a tan paper… let’s just call it ginger paper… and stepping through the threshold I knew then– I was in Gingertown. In the tiny space were 70 or so tall ones, short ones, young ones, and old ones. Teams of friends and families, drinking hot cider and milling politely thru the tightly cramped aisles of cafeteria tables and on each table were different constructions in process, some improvised and some with a blueprint– but this was no academic endeavor by those redhead architects I imagined- no. This was townsfolk building a magical Christmas out of food!
The tables were covered in materials like gingerbread, all the candies, cereals, marshmallows, frosting, chocolate chips, mini-cookies.
I walked through each aisle to see the different houses, the fire station, the school, even a Roman coliseum– a dad held a blueprint up to the light and wrinkled his nose to scrutinize how the roof was supposed to come together.
I asked a lady how they were supposed to arrange all these parts of the town and she said “go next door!”
I thought I had been in the heart of Gingertown but it was only a residential neighborhood; next door was vast and bustling like a town center. In the very front was a vacant plot with candy came street lamps and historic train engines. This snowy landscape is where all the various pieces would eventually go.
Against the far wall was a bar where all the materials for Gingertown were kept. A person of importance, maybe a councilman of Gingertown hurried up to tell the attendant of the materials that “we are out of sour patch kids!” She instructed him to run to the CVS get some more! I told her I loved Airheads and she said I could have one but don’t eat too many. She also let me have a sour Twizzler.
Christmas carols were playing by the real snacks: veggies, cheese, fruits, and breads. Cider and wine. Ginger snaps.
A man who seemed in charge, maybe the mayor of Gingertown, told me to try the hummus. It was delicious. Then I was full. Looking around I wondered what was this feeling I was feeling. Was I drunk? No. Was it the sugar? I don’t think.
It was merriment. I felt merry.
Leaving Gingertown was hard. But I’ll be going to visit the fully complete version to see how all the many small parts come together to create a merry Christmas town. A real Gingertown.