47-01 111th St.
Queens, NY 11368
Description: Jon Lovitch is a chef and the creator of GingerBread Lane, an annual display of homemade and handmade gingerbread houses that he drafts, designs, bakes, plans, builds, and decorates for an entire year. This season will be its 20th.
The concept for Gingerbread Lane changes each year, depending on what Lovitch has seen at gingerbread competitions, in magazines, at holiday displays, sometimes even drawing ideas from houses he spots while driving.
Lovitch purchases the materials after the holiday season, and begins designing and constructing the exhibit by March. All work is completed by late October and reviewed for detail until the exhibit begins. Beginning in November, Lovitch works between 80 and 90 hours for the final three weeks before GingerBread Lane opens for display. Each gingerbread house requires approximately three hours to complete and many of the complicated projects within the village require upwards of 35 hours. Each annual GBL takes about 1500 hours to make.
GBL is made from only "real" edible ingredients: gingerbread, royal icing, and candy. In contrast, other gingerbread competitors use dried pasta, uncooked rice and beans, and edible clay, among other ingredients. This year, GBL uses both gingerbread bricks and candy bricks for the structures.
The 2013 GBL weighs more than 1.5 tons, covers a continuous surface of nearly 300 square feet and is 11 feet high at its highest point. It will be competing for a Guinness World Record for largest gingerbread exhibit, and will be the largest GBL ever.
While the layout and composition change yearly, GBL always includes Eggnog Bay, Gum Drop Row, Peppermint Central Park, Candy Cane Place, and Toffee Boulevard. New this year is Ribbon Candy Ridge and a "behind-the-scenes" window, giving a peek into the makings of GBL with ovens, models, and ingredients...made entirely from royal icing. Five two-foot-high nutcrackers, also made of royal icing, stand guard over the back of the exhibit.
This year's village includes an estimated 1750 lbs. of icing, 400 lbs. of candy, and 500 lbs. of gingerbread dough; and comprises 152 gingerbread houses, 65 trees, four gingerbread cable cars, five gingerbread train cars, an underground candy subway station, candy trees, and sugar signage.
GingerBread Lane always sits out in the open, rather than behind glass, a fact that can really be appreciated when one smells the homemade gingerbread.
All gingerbread structures are given away free on the last day of the exhibit. Since December 2000, GingerBread Lane has also hosted annual workshops for families and after-school programs for children. Each year, Lovitch works with underprivileged and disabled children by shipping GingerBread Lane pieces across the country for those unable to view the display.
gingerbread-lane.org; Twitter: @GingerBreadLane; Facebook: GingerBread Lane, #gingerbreadlane.