Frelinghuysen Arboretum Hosts Gingerbread Wonderland

By Candace Kelley

The sweet smells rise up and greets you when you walk inside this kingdom of gingerbread, chocolate, and icing. It’s the 23rd annual Gingerbread Wonderland and Craft Show at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown. 

“I am so in awe of of some of the creativity,” said Frances Zemo.

“There seems to be more of a story incorporated into the exhibits,” said Jeff Biggs.

Submissions came from individuals, scouting groups and for some it was a family project. More than 15,000 visitors come out each year to marvel at these pieces like a log cabin and a piece called Over the River and Through Woods.  

“People select scenes that are important to them. There’s an exhibit here a tribute to a grandpa who recently passed away,” said Lesley Parness, Superintendent of Horticultural Education.

Organizers of the event, say the artist works often reflect the world we live in. Years ago after Sandy, many of the pieces integrated the aftermath of the storm. This year the some were environmentally friendly.

The display may be called Gingerbread Wonderland, but many of the visitors I spoke to said that being here feels like an art show because of all of the craftsmanship.

“The simplicity of some of them are wonderful and others are so detailed,” said Linda Phander.

Organizers don’t call it a competition, but visitors can vote on their favorite pieces for the People’s Choice Awards. And after the winner is announced, designers of these gingerbread sculptures will be figuring out their theme for next year. 

“Some of our entrants are already planning what they will be creating for 2015 Ginger Wonderland,” said Parness.

Gingerbread Wonderland is open everyday until Sunday, Dec. 14. The cost is two dollars to get in and all proceeds go to the arboretum’s Horticultural Educational Department.