By NewsLine Staff

Jacksonville Historical Society’s Gingerbread House Extravaganza opens for a three-week run Nov. 30, showcasing dozens of gingerbread houses and confection creations made by area professional and amateurs. A local holiday tradition, the Gingerbread Extravaganza was called one of the “five best holiday events in the South” last year by Southern Living magazine. In its 14th year, the Gingerbread Extravaganza is expected to be the biggest in the show’s history.

“We’re anticipating more than 60 gingerbread houses or creations,” said show chair, Robert Hennigar, who lives in the Julington Creek area.    

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The gingerbread houses come in all shapes, sizes and themes and are constructed by friends, families, co-workers, chefs and individuals — aged six to 96.  While many entries include traditional gingerbread houses and villages, other creations focus on storybook, movie, fantasy and history themes. Icing, fondant and candies are typically used and occasionally builders use a main ingredient other than gingerbread. At least two entries from Peterbrooke stores feature chocolate.

Hennigar not only chairs the popular holiday event, he and his family are also gingerbread builders.  He’s creating a winter windmill with daughter Alyssa. His wife Tosha is working on a gingerbread nutcracker chef with Alyssa. As first time builders last year, they were awarded a blue ribbon.

Other Extravaganza participants in the NW St. Johns County area include longtime builders Janet, Steve and daughter, Piper McInall.  This year, they are creating “Ginga Warriors,”  a take-off on Ninja Warriors.

The Gingerbread House Extravaganza runs Nov. 30 – Dec. 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Sundays, at Jacksonville Historical Society’s Old St. Andrews, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., across from the Veterans Memorial Arena. It opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.  

A charity event, a donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children over three is suggested. The Jacksonville Historical Society’s Merrill Museum House, highlighting 1903 Jacksonville life, is open 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. during the Extravaganza and is located on adjoining property. Parking for both events is free.

“It’s a perfect event for all ages,” said Jacksonville Historical Society Executive Director Emily Lisska. “It’s also the most creative art show in town.”

Visit or call (904) 665-0064 for more information.

Photo courtesy Emily Lisska

Robert Hennigar creates a “Winter Windmill” of gingerbread and confection with help from his daughter, Alyssa, for the Gingerbread House Extravaganza. 

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