After a year-long hiatus, Highland Park Village’s much-loved Gingerbread Stroll is back for a fifth year.
With the closing of Tom Thumb and ongoing construction in the Village, event organizer Christine McKenny decided to take last year off. She said the response to the holiday favorite’s return has been inspiring.
“People have really embraced it, because they missed it last year,” McKenny said. “It’s a little bit more anticipated and appreciated.”
And that response hasn’t come only from the community. Some of the head pastry chefs responsible for those lavish gingerbread houses contacted McKenny to make sure the event was on.
“My very top chef called me this year and said, ‘Are you going to do it? You have to organize it,’” McKenny said. “And I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.”
This year’s event will feature 11 houses and run Nov. 18 through Dec. 1 at Highland Park Village. Proceeds from the auctioned houses will go to Community Partners of Dallas, an organization helping abused and neglected children. Participating shops will be marked on event fliers, according to McKenny.
The chefs crafting the houses are already getting prepared. Local painter Evelyn J. Fallgren, who has created houses for the stroll every year, said Tudor-style houses often inspire her.
Her design inspirations are eclectic. One year, she based her house on a 300-square-foot California home she had seen on the “Tiny Home” show. On the show, the house was built to show off a dollmaker’s dolls, but Fallgren turned hers into a gingerbread masterpiece.
The main draw of the event for her is the chance to help the causes.
“These charities are so worthy,” Fallgren said. “Being a part of that is really worth it to me.”
To date, the Gingerbread Stroll has raised more than $40,000, McKenny said. This year they expect to hit a grand total of more than $55,000.
McKenny’s event advisor, Lynn McBee, said the event is unique. “There really isn’t anything else like it in the area,” McBee said.
“To me, it was something new and creative and fun,” McBee said. “Highland Park Village, with all the fun twinkly lights at Christmas, is the perfect backdrop for all of this.”