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Missouri last stop for Pittsburgh gingerbread train station

| Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011

Kegan Powers is having Christmas in January.

The 6-year-old Farmington, Mo., boy is fascinated by gingerbread houses, and once he discovered the website for Pittsburgh-based Gingerbread Lane candy houses, he began spending at least an hour a day online examining the brightly colored structures Jon Lovitch makes.

The distance kept the kindergartner, who was born prematurely and has several disabilities, from visiting Pittsburgh to see the nearly 140 gingerbread houses Lovitch makes and displays during the holiday season at One Oxford Centre, Downtown. So Lovitch is sending one to him.

"Kegan is just so ecstatic," his mother, Cami Powers, said Friday. "I'm so touched. It's like Jon is extending the Christmas spirit into the new year. He has no idea how much this little boy is going to love this."

Lovitch, executive chef at Seven Oaks Country Club in Beaver, in March begins making the houses, storefronts, hotels, train stations and ice skating rinks that comprise his gingerbread village every year. He's displayed them for 18 seasons at locations including the Mall at Robinson and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and he said nearly 400,000 people came to see his most recent work Downtown.

The gingerbread village is made at his own expense. Lovitch uses 1,040 pounds of gumdrops, 3,103 pounds of other candy and 3,905 pounds of icing making the houses. At the end of the season, he gives them away.

When Cami Powers contacted him, he knew he had to help.

"The whole reason I do Gingerbread Lane every year is because people enjoy it, and they like looking at it," said Lovitch, who lives Downtown. "But here was a kid who was so enamored with it and he couldn't come here to enjoy it. So I knew I had to send him one."

Kegan picked out the Cinnamon and Nutmeg Railroad model and Powers packaged it up yesterday to ship it to the boy for free.

Cami Powers said her son is home-schooled, at times has to use a wheelchair and is almost completely blind but when he leans close to the computer screen he can see the gingerbread houses that Lovitch makes. His mother plans to put a shellac resin on the gingerbread house to help preserve it.

"The bright colors really captivate him," Powers said. "This is just such a wonderful thing to do for my son."

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