Run, run as fast as you can to 'Gingerbread Mania'

ERIN TAYLOR/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Pictured from left to right are students Adriana Perez, Kelsey Jones, Carla-Selena Moreno and Emma Bumbullis putting the finishing touches on a gingerbread train and gingerbread houses.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

ERIN TAYLOR/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Pictured from left to right are students Adriana Perez, Kelsey Jones, Carla-Selena Moreno and Emma Bumbullis putting the finishing touches on a gingerbread train and gingerbread houses.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - Kingman High School culinary students are inviting the public to their second annual "Gingerbread Mania" tonight in the school's cafeteria.

Members of the public will be able to view gingerbread houses and other creations crafted by students from the elementary school level and up and try the sauces created by the culinary high school students for an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner. Entrance to the viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. is free, while the pasta bar and salad dinner is $5 for adults, $3 for children and free for kids 5 and under.

The houses will include those made by the high school students out of baked gingerbread and houses made by local elementary school students out of graham crackers. KHS culinary program head Chef Michael Gaul said his students have been working on their gingerbread creations since before Thanksgiving.

"My kitchen has been nothing but gingerbread and powdered sugar everywhere," he said.

On Wednesday the students were still busy gluing walls together using whipped egg whites and powdered sugar.

"It's a lot harder than it looks," said sophomore Carla-Selena Moreno. First she had to roll out the gingerbread dough to the thickness needed, cut out the stencils used in her design and then bake the dough, which can cause shrinkage and throw off the measurements. She also had to contend with a broken gingerbread roof. Her solution? Pretzel sticks.

Kelsey Jones, a junior, also used pretzel sticks to decorate the outside of a log house she designed.

"But it really looks more like an old-timey jail, doesn't it?" she said.

Not all of the houses are actually houses, Gaul said. This year, students are designing a lighthouse, castles and even an aircraft carrier. Past creations have included the White House, a Smurf house and an outhouse with a snowman inside reading the paper.

Materials for the gingerbread houses were funded by West Coast Netting. Gaul said past sponsors have included Mission Bank and Taco Bell.

Gaul said he likes seeing the houses go from the design stage to the final product.

"It's not as easy as it looks matching their imaginations with their designs and actually doing it," he said.

The gingerbread creations will be judged by former students before the public viewing. The houses will then be displayed at Kettlehut's in downtown Kingman around Christmas. Gaul said he plans to invite the entire community to make their own houses for the competition next year.

"The goal is to make this community-wide," he said.