of New Home Building:
Candy House Workshop
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Fairfield, CT – In the span of an hour or two, 20 new homes were erected in Fairfield’s Beach Area, but don’t bother going to see them. They likely will have been eaten by the time you arrive.
These homes were not the brick and wood structures you might expect but miniature candy houses constructed by teams of children and their parents at a Candy House Workshop held Saturday afternoon Dec. 18 at the Burr Homestead, 739 Old Post Road. The event was sponsored by the Fairfield Museum and History Center and required advance registration. More than two dozen people participated in the activity.
The museum’s Director of Education and Community Programs Christine Jewell had picked up all the candy supplies and, with docent Robert Garbarini’s help, was laying them out on two long tables in the historic home’s front hall. She wasn’t sure how many pounds of candy she had purchased, but said, “I have a small compact car and had to put the seats down. The candy filled the whole back.”
It was an impressive collection of goodies to be sure: Froot Loops, peppermint candies, Frosted Mini Wheats, red licorice whips, pretzel squares, fruit flavored snacks, Skittles, natural animal crackers, mini and large marshmallows, sugar cones, Gummi Bears, gumdrops, chocolate chips, M&Ms, graham crackers and candy canes.
In addition, 19 pounds of ready-to-spread vanilla crème icing, purchased from Bresky’s in Bridgeport, and milk cartons donated by Wade’s Dairy of Bridgeport and mounted to foamcore squares, were supplied to participants.
Museum coordinator Walter Mathis, dashing about with a Santa hat on his noggin, said, “Materials change from year to year depending on what’s in stock and where people go.” He guessed that this is the 15th consecutive year that the museum has been holding this event and said it had been initiated by a volunteer, Jeanne Harrison.
“It’s a nice family activity,” said Jewell. “Parents will bring their friends, kids will bring their friends, they’ll all hang out and socialize, and the kids will sneak some candy.”
“What’s amazing is the creativity of the people putting things together,” added Mathis. “They are unlimited in their design. But what’s even more magical is the people that return year after year, who have made this event part of their holiday family traditions.”
Arriving families collected their milk carton bases and reported to a sunny back room where several tables had been dressed with red plastic covers and topped with additional materials like plastic knives.
The Im-Haas clan of Fairfield – Dash, 7, Jolie, 4, and mom Elizabeth – were one of the returning families and had set themselves up at a windowside table. “The kids eat the house both during and after making it. I think it’s the first thing they ask to do as they begin,” said Elizabeth.
Frank Sabados, 5, and mom Alene, also Fairfielders, were returnees as well. “We did this last year. Now this is a new tradition that Frank and I do. His siblings are home sleeping. He’s an expert candy house maker,” she said.
“Mom, remind me not to eat it when we get it home like I did the other one,” suggested Frank.
Sydney Lennon, 8, brother Nate, 5, and Sydney’s friend Caroline, 8, collaborated on their home projects. Sydney and Nate’s mom Jessica was glad the museum was hosting the activity. “This is a fun, festive Christmas activity and we get to do it here, not at home. That’s a plus – no clean up!”
Deron Galusha had been recruited to bring his sons Patrick, 8, and Robert, 9, to the event. “My wife signed them up so she could go shopping. It sounded fun.”
Chris Hayes and his children Caylin, 8, and Ryland, 11, visiting for the holidays from California, had been led over by Chris’ mom Beth, a Fairfield resident. “They wanted to build a gingerbread house and, lo and behold, the museum was holding the workshop here,” she said.
Like a real construction site, rubble began to collect everywhere, but it consisted of graham cracker crumbs, icing globs and stray gumdrops instead of concrete and lumber scraps. And the work site uniforms were not overalls but chocolate spattered t-shirts worn by sticky-fingered carpenters.
Frank Sabados had made great progress with his creation and declared that it was Santa’s house. Mom Alene asked him if Santa had a dog. “No,” he said. “Do we have a dog?” she queried. “Yes… Daisy,” he said. “What would Daisy do to this house?” she pressed. “Eat it…. We better put it up high when we get home,” said Frank wisely.