PENDLETON — Holiday traditions often run deep in families.
From decorating the house with lights, to trimming a tree, to baking homemade cookies, festive activities help get children and adults into the holiday spirit.
In Pendleton, the Friends of the Pendleton Library group is doing its part to get people fired up for the holidays by conducting a Gingerbread Cottage Contest.
The culminating showcase will take place during the Pendleton Community Public Library holiday open house, scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at 595 E. Water St.
Liza Sexson, a member of the Friends of the Pendleton Library committee, has a longtime family tradition of making gingerbread houses from kits and scratch. She and other group members thought a gingerbread cottage decorating contest would be an ideal way to celebrate the holidays and raise funds for the library.
An event such as this reverberates throughout a community, Sexson said.
“It doesn’t always have to be about presents and the gifts we get, but it can be about the Christmas spirit and getting involved,” she said.
Kristen Case, adult programming and outreach specialist at the library, is looking forward to the gingerbread cottages being on display. She said organizers of the event plan to use every display case available for the delectable creations.
“I hope they’re under lock and key,” she said with a laugh.
Sexson, a mother of one, used to make gingerbread houses with her daughter and her nieces and nephews, but now that her children are older, she will take part in the holiday tradition and make a cottage as part of the contest.
She’s learned many things through the years about building gingerbread houses from scratch, including making sure the builder has the right kind of icing to make the house stick together.
“It’s a lesson learned the hard way from experience,” she said.
Her daughter, Sydney Sexson, who is now a Pendleton Heights High School senior, is going to use one of the kits for the contest with the help of wrestling managers.
Entry fees are $10 and $20 depending on which route the builder wants to take, kit or scratch, with the kit entry fee being higher.
All the gingerbread cottages will be part of a contest with winners being awarded for the Best in Show — Handmade, Best in Show — Kit, and Best in Show for family/corporate/team and club entry.
The contest committee will give category winners a Friends of the Pendleton Library prize packs, which will include a $25 Visa gift cards and free entry to next year’s contest, so winners can defend their titles.
Visitors to the library will have the chance to vote for a People’s Choice Award.
Gingerbread cottage kits and entry forms are available at the front desk of the library.
Registration for the contest is open through Thursday, Dec. 7. Patrons will be allowed to drop off their gingerbread cottages between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, and Thursday, Dec. 7.