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Gingerbread contest recalls family tradition

The eight entries in the contest included many

The eight entries in the contest included many gingerbread houses, with participants using everything from icing to Frosted Mini-Wheats to convey their visions. (Nov. 26, 2011) Credit: Madeline Lewis

Sisters Holly Schroll Aarseth, Ann Schroll and Becky Schroll have fond memories of sledding during the winter months in Amity Harbor. This week, they designed an original gingerbread craft as a way to tell that story in the first Sagtikos Manor Gingerbread Competition held Saturday.

The sisters baked a gingerbread sled from scratch and placed three gingerbread men on top.

“Becky lives in Colorado and she was home for Thanksgiving so we though it would be a nice way to get together,” said Schroll Aarseth, 31. “The gingerbread sled represents our childhood. As children, sledding was our main activity in the winter.”

Phyllis Chan-Carr, 55, is the free competition’s founder and a member of the Sagtikos Manor Historical Society. The West Islip woman is a graphic designer who has long competed in the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County’s gingerbread contest, crafting Pokéballs, carousels and churches. She said she thought the concept would work well for the manor.

The eight entries, judged by library patrons on Saturday, included the sled, a Christmas tree, a castle and several houses. One house had a snowy roof made of Frosted Mini-Wheats and a chimney of Chex mix. The castle’s creator equipped the interior with battery operated candles so that its windows would be illuminated at night.

The top three entries will be on display at the circa 1697 Sagtikos Manor in Bay Shore on Dec. 10 and 11 for the landmark's Treasures of Christmas Holiday Tour.

“It’s not just about the baking,” said Chan-Carr, “it’s about creating. Also, it’s a great way to bring the community together and get them involved with the manor.”

The group hopes to make the competition a tradition. If that happens, the Schroll sisters said they will continue to participate.

Joann Piccione-Doorty, 61, of North Babylon, another historical society member who was at the library Saturday, said she would join in, too. She has no experience making anything with gingerbread, but said she won’t let it stop her.

“I think they’re phenomenal and the imagination that went in to them -- real talent,” she said. “I want to try it next year.”

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