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Gingerbread houses enliven Mt. Pleasant windows

| Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Barbara Denning | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Norvelt's Samantha Eyth (far right), won the 2012 Dream House Award in the inaugural Mt. Pleasant Borough Gingerbread House Tour Display & Competition for her creation, 'Welcome To Gingerbread Land.' She appears with (from left) Jeff Landy, Mt. Pleasant Borough manager; Nadia Speney, marketing supervisor of O'Rourke Cut Glass & Gifts, which donated the award; and Christine Barnhart, who with Landy co-coordinated the event.
Muddy Paws owner Melissa Marsh sets one of the gingerbread houses in a window of her shop, joining 10 other business owners who participated in the event. Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier dec 2012

Filling numerous store windows with wondrous Christmas delights, the first Gingerbread House Tour held in Mt. Pleasant has been deemed a success.

With almost 30 entries in the contest, borough officials said they consider the first foray into the event a big hit.

“We surpassed our goal,” Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy said. “I think that everyone did a really nice job.”

The idea for the event was launched by resident Christine Barnhart.

“I was real happy with the turnout and I was surprised at the amount of homes that arrived,” Barnhart said. “The communities really came out and supported the competition. The houses were all very nice and a lot of creativity went in each one.”

The gingerbread houses were all placed in local businesses which displayed the entries for the public to see.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Herbalicious manager Joanne Prosnik said. “It was a nice way to bring the community together.”

Judges visited each entry and chose winners in categories that included adult, family, high school, middle school and elementary school.

An overall “Dream House Award” was given for the top gingerbread house, a work entitled “Welcome to Gingerbread Land” that was created by Samantha Eyth.

Shop owners who participated in the event stated that they have noticed an avid interest in the gingerbread houses.

“I see a lot of people looking in the windows and I also had several people tell me that they came into town just to see the gingerbread house displays,” Muddy Paws owner Melissa Marsh said.

One award that has yet to be determined is the People's Choice Award that will be announced when the voting is completed in a few weeks.

Each business that is housing one of the entries has ballot boxes located inside so everyone can vote for their favorite house.

All of the 28 entries are available for sale, with all proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.

“I think having the proceeds go towards the Wounded Warrior helped with the community support,” Barnhart said. “So far only one house has sold so I would really like to push the fact that they are for sale. I would also like for people to know that voting inside the businesses is how the People's Choice is won. People's Choice voting will continue until Dec. 20.”

Plans are already in the works to make the event an annual addition to the holiday season in the borough.

“I hope that next year's event is bigger and better,” Landy said. “It's just one more thing that we can have now at Christmas here in Mt. Pleasant.”

Several businesses and groups helped in bringing the event to fruition and Barnhart is thankful to all who contributed time, money and space.

“I'm really pleased with this year so far and the businesses really seem to like the houses, Barnhart said. “I really appreciate their support in allowing me to display in their windows and I thank them. I would also like to thank the VFW for their support in my venture. Another huge thank you would to Peter O'Rouke at O'Rourke Crystal and Glass and I would like to thank the borough for supporting my idea and advertising my vision.”

All purchased houses will be available for pickup after Dec. 21

Profits from the houses will go to the Wounded Warrior Project and donations are also appreciated.

Barnhart can be contacted at gingerbread15666@gmail.com or by calling 412-913-4961 for information on contributing or purchasing a house.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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