You're right. Aside from a few exciting sprinkles last week which nudged us to get our snow tires down from the shelf in the garage, this fall has been mild and magnificent.

And while many of us are raking leaves and planting perennial bulbs for next spring, Faye Bubel and her team are thinking about Christmas. Well, actually, they're thinking about gingerbread houses. Faye is in charge of the fourth annual Gingerbread House competition which will occur during the artisans show, Christmas at The Museum. On November 20 and 21, the museum on Hwy 26 will be jammed with people thinking about Christmas. Artisans and their carefully made wares will be helping to fill Christmas gift lists.

Starting now and for the next few weeks you can register for the Gingerbread House contest, and pay a $25 registration fee. That gets you a house kit all assembled and the creativity starts with you. Whether you're a family, a corporation, a group of friends, a bakery, a restaurant, or a member of the media, the Gingerbread House competition is one of those win-win-win opportunities. Competitors use their incredible creativity to decorate their houses, creating themes that demonstrate their business or celebrate the season. They enter their creation into the contest, with categories, and the general public does the judging. Everyone gets to judge whether they buy one voting raffle ticket or an arm length of them. They vote by placing their tickets in the attached paper bags of each entry. Highest number of tickets is the winner.

But it gets even better. The raffle tickets are then drawn to announce a winner and one of the lucky voters gets to take home a fabulous gingerbread house.

Faye says: "This is great for any business. If the entry is a bakery or a sweet shop, it gives them exposure to their product. If it's a small business, there's the business name sitting next to the entry and friendly competition makes for more fun."

The competition will feature a media category and an overall Best in Show which last year was won by Cakes by Design.

Sponsored by Wallwin Electric, Zehrs Markets and Simcoe Trophies, the winners take home an award to display at their business, and all the funds raised go to Christmas Cheer.

"Last year's event brought in 38 gingerbread houses and raised $3000 for our charity," said Faye, describing the activity that provides nearly 5,000 people with Christmas gifts and food. Money is raised through the entry fees, and the raffle voting tickets as well as the purchase of preassembled houses.

"We also sell the preassembled houses at the show for family decorating," says Faye, so the fundraiser is getting broader. And after you've judged all those gingerbread houses, you can visit the artisans booths, grab a snack in the tea room, and buy a pottery item from the Empty Bowls program, another brilliant fundraiser initiated by Wanda Collison.

To find out more, go online to www.christmascheerbarrie.com... the gingerbread house competition is on the first page. To order your undecorated house and enter the competition, contact Faye at her business, Fab Interiors, by emailing: faye@fabinteriors.ca

See what I mean? Christmas!!!

Thanks, Faye.

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