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>> GET ONBOARD THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN EXHIBIT AT FERRY FARM!
George Washington Foundation hosts holiday activities

 Clayton Lippart entered this creation, featuring a squirrel family celebrating, for a previous competition.
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Date published: 12/6/2012

BY COLLETTE CAPRARA

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Throughout December, there will be a bounty of Christmas spirit at the Kenmore Estate and Ferry Farm, as the George Washington Foundation hosts a spectrum of holiday activities for families.

The creations featured in the 26th annual Gingerbread Exhibit and Contest--displayed throughout the month at Kenmore--are sure to delight visitors young and old. Each year, entrants in age cohorts ranging from 2 through adulthood, as well as family, special-needs and professional categories, invest imagination to develop edible elements of scenarios and dioramas.

This year's display will include a fanciful depictions of a "Songs of the Holidays" theme.

The exhibit may well spark the interest and ideas of folks who will go on to create confections next year--and beyond. For example, the Lippart family of Stafford was inspired to join the competition fir one year and Dad (Clayton) later produced a prize-winning "Home for the Holidays" entry of a little squirrel family nestled in their living room in a cozy gingerbread tree stump.

He then went on to launch a family bakery enterprise, You Take the Cake, and led a gingerbread workshop at Ferry Farm this year. He introduced methods of producing a variety of structure forms and embellishments, ranging from edible tree bark to pine needles, Christmas lights and fireplace masonry.

On Dec. 10, The Rappahannock Model Railroad Club will unveil a unique train layout developed especially for the holidays at Ferry Farm, which will be on display throughout the month. The exhibit will feature two scenarios: a 1930s Christmas, with festive village shops and vintage vehicles; and a Civil War Christmas scenario in the winter of 1862, in which Confederate troops will be transferring supplies from the train to their wagons at the site of a small army encampment.

A longstanding holiday tradition, the train display will spark the imaginations of youngsters while eliciting fond memories among their parents and grandparents.

Festivities at Ferry Farm on Dec. 15 will feature a visit and photo opportunity with that jolly old elf himself, Santa. For this occasion, Santa (Dale Brown) will be bringing along a selection of the kinds of toys that children played with in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including wood and metal puzzles, a yellow ducky pull-toy, a wooden replica of a stern-wheel boat and a number of simple musical instruments.

Santa will tell of Christmases long ago, when children watched animation not on digital devices but through inventions on which multiple drawings spun, such as the phenakistoscope and zoetrope.

And Santa will be donning a Victorian-era St. Nick suit, crafted by Mrs. Claus herself!

Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.


GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FERRY FARM

268 Kings Highway, Stafford

Christmas Train Exhibit, Dec. 10-30: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Included with regular admission to Ferry Farm: adults $8, students $4, under age 6 free.

Visit with Santa: Saturday, Dec. 15. 1-4 p.m. Included with regular admission to Ferry Farm: adults $8, students $4, under age 6 free.

HISTORIC KENMORE ESTATE

1201 Washington Ave., Fredericksburg

Gingerbread Exhibit, through Dec. 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Dec. 24-25). Exhibit only: adults $5, students $2.50, under age 6 free. Exhibit and tour of Kenmore: Adults $10, students $5, under age 6 free.

Info/reservations: 540/370-0732; kenmore.org