FARMINGTON — The scent of wassail, peppermint and ginger filled a back room of the Children's Justice Center in Farmington last week as about 70 intricately designed gingerbread homes sat waiting to be purchased.
The small, mostly edible homes are part of the annual Gingerbread Village silent auction held at 125 S. Main from Thursday to Saturday.
"It's a nice fund-raiser for us. The community decorates the gingerbread houses and brings them to us," said Doug Miller, CJC director. "When we sell them, we keep the proceeds for the center."
Not only does the auction raise funds, it helps raise awareness for the center, Miller said, adding he buys one of the homes each year.
Two of the homes were decorated by Cheryl Fullmer and were log-cabin mansions. One of them was donated in 2004, purchased by Darlene Thompson and then re-donated again this year.
"It was still in good enough shape and it was still fantastic enough that we decided to put it up again," Miller said.
Miller said the home went for several hundreds of dollars last year. This year's mansion took Fullmer about two weeks to create from start to finish.
"What I do is I work on it maybe a few hours every day, maybe let certain parts dry, then I can add to it," Fullmer said.
Fullmer designs all of the homes she creates and cuts out a cardboard frame for pattern pieces.
"Some of my houses can have over 1,000 pieces," Fullmer said adding that she labels each piece so that she can put it in the right place.
Fullmer got her gingerbread-decorating start after receiving a flier for the annual Gingerbread Village at the CJC while working at Parsons Bakery in North Salt Lake. Each year she usually builds two homes, a big one and then a smaller or medium-size one.
"I always give one to the Davis County Justice Center because they kind of got me started on this," Fullmer said. "It's their fault."
Fullmer said sometimes the houses cost her up to $300 to make. Sometimes she has someone sponsor the home to help cover the cost of supplies.
"Where I get my enjoyment is building it and seeing it go out the door and being proud of it and that way I have already gotten out of my house what I want," Fullmer said.
The gingerbread homes at the Gingerbread Village run the gamut from the larger log-cabin mansions to smaller one-room dwellings.
"Kids participate and professionals participate all in the same arena," Miller said of the homes.
One of the homes had cars parked in front of it made of mini Hershey's bars, Creme Savers and M&M's. One of the taller homes was shaped like a three-sided clock tower and had two sides that kept time with mechanical clock hands.
The Ginger Snaps Bakery house had miniature gingerbread homes, a wedding cake and presents in the windows. For a castle effect, several upside-down ice cream cones topped another home.
"I think they're wonderful," said Darlene Thompson, who said she buys one each year. "We've had some real talent come into the community."
Also during the Gingerbread Village, people could decorate their own gingerbread cookie for 50 cents and several boutique items were for sale.
The Children's Justice Center provides a safe place for children involved in child abuse cases and try to help minimize trauma. It offers interviews, physical evaluations and services as necessary in handling abuse issues.