The folks at the George Washington Foundation were determined to provide traditional events for families throughout the holiday season, providing joy and a comforting sense of festive familiarity during these challenging times. They tapped into their creativity and resourcefulness to ensure safety precautions were in place.
34th Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibit
A highlight of the foundation’s holiday offerings, and a longstanding favorite for more than three decades, is the Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibit at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. The solution was, for the first time ever, to host the event outdoors in the garden area behind the Visitors Center. “We just didn’t want to stop hosting the exhibit after 33 years!” said Manager of Educational Programs Zac Cunningham. “It’s become a family tradition, both for those who make gingerbread houses and take on the challenge of depicting the annual themes using all homemade elements and for those who are thrilled to see the creations each year and the innovative ways the themes were depicted.”
This year’s theme is Fairy Tales, while those of the past have ranged from cartoons to historic sites in Fredericksburg. Gingerbread houses and dioramas are awarded first- through third-prize ribbons in a variety of age cohorts and categories. A People’s Choice ribbon will be awarded on the basis of “likes” registered on the foundation’s Facebook site.
Fairy Tale creations this year include a delightful “Christmas Fairy House” with an icing snow-covered roof and colorful candy decorations, a “Christmas in Wonderland” diorama that is based on the story of Alice in Wonderland and includes a hallmark toadstool, and a “Jack and the Beanstalk” scenario with a castle towering above a green countryside.
“Though the gingerbread houses are, in a sense, fragile, they bring an oasis of stability and tradition in a year that has presented many challenges and changes,” said Cunningham. “At a time when many families are tucked away and preoccupied with their individual technological devices, exploring the exhibit can be a transporting, bonding experience for parents and children.”
Masks are required for tours of the Washington home at Ferry Farm and are encouraged for those who view the exhibit.
34th Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibit. George Washington’s Ferry Farm, 268 King’s Highway, Fredericksburg, 22405. Gingerbread Exhibit is Free: donations are sincerely appreciated. Washington House Tour: adults $12, students 6 and above $6, ages 5 and under free.
Kenmore.org (Ferry Farm) 540-370-0732
In addition to the Gingerbread House Exhibit at Ferry Farm, the George Washington Foundation will continue to offer traditional activities via the Historic Kenmore estate, which have been reimagined to meet the needs of the time.
A Wee Christmas Workshop
The Wee Christmas Workshop for children, whose creations were typically displayed at Historic Kenmore in conjunction with the annual holiday dollhouse display, will be offered this year as a virtual, live craft session at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Participants will create a holiday-themed “room box” that offers a peek into a festive parlor, featuring a decorated Christmas tree, wrapped presents and fireplace mantle. Kits for participants include all materials except glue and are available for online purchase for $20 and can be picked up at the Crowninshield Building at Kenmore on Thursday and Friday.
Kenmore Fox Hunt
Yet another annual tradition, the Fox Hunt at Kenmore, will be offered this year throughout the grounds of the estate rather than in the Kenmore mansion. Visitors are challenged to find six ceramic cut-outs of foxes that are tucked away in the estate’s garden, wilderness walk and grounds. Families can engage in the Fox Hunt every day through Dec. 30 (excluding Dec. 24 and 25), free of charge. Guests who choose to take a tour of the exquisitely refurbished Kenmore house will also receive a list of helpful fox hiding place hints. Those who find a fox can take a photo and tag George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore on Facebook.
Kenmore Tour tickets $12 adults, $6 Students 6 and above, Free for ages 5 and under. Fox Hunt: free of charge.
Historic Kenmore, 1201 Washington Avenue, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.Kenmore.org 540-373-3381