Subscribe Now

Visit the Marblehead Museum this weekend and you’ll see some of the craziest gingerbread creations you can imagine. From animals to film scenes to entire gingerbread villages, you can find it all at the Marblehead Family Fund’s 13th annual Gingerbread Festival.

Gingerbread creation drop-off happens on Wednesday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The opening reception, complete with wine, cider, and cookies, kicks off the festivities on Thursday, December 5 at 5 p.m., and then the creations are on view through Sunday.

The Marblehead Family Fund, a local community-based organization, raises money for Marblehead’s playgrounds, parks, and open spaces by hosting family-focused events through the year, like this Gingerbread Festival. They are currently working on rebuilding Hobbs Playground.

The creations are on display at the Marblehead Museum’s Jeremiah Lee Mansion. “We are fortunate to be able to hold the event in such a beautiful and historic venue,” said Rosie Barrett, co-chair of this year’s festival. “It really adds charm and a holiday feel to the festival!”

Although many of the submissions are houses, Barrett said they receive a range of unique entries. “One year we had a bunch of turkeys crafted out of gingerbread,” said Barrett. “The possibilities are endless!” The past submission that most impressed her was a gingerbread Army tank, with Hersey chocolate squares as track treads, gummy bears as soldiers, and camouflage frosting.

When participants drop off their creations, they enter them into one of six categories: under five years old, six through ten years old, classic, creative, Marblehead (Marblehead-themed submissions), or school (submissions by school groups). ‘Celebrity judges’ (some local business owners) pick winners in each of the categories before the festival opens to the public, and the winners receive first place ribbons plus a prize. 

Admission to the festival costs $3 per person or $10 per family and includes a voting ticket for each person to vote on their favorite creation. These winners receive the ‘People’s Choice Award’ plus a prize. Attendees may also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of three stunning, professionally-made gingerbread houses. Participants are welcome to take their own creations home at the conclusion of the festival.

The Gingerbread Festival takes place during Marblehead’s 49th annual Christmas Walk, a weekend of holiday cheer in downtown Marblehead, featuring a tree lighting, an artisans’ market, and a parade, to name just a few of the festivities. On Tuesday, December 3, the Marblehead Museum hosts a Gingerbread Workshop for children to make their own gingerbread houses to enter into the festival. Supplies and a snack are included.

For more North Shore holiday happenings, check out 10 Festive Activities North of Boston This December.

Gingerbread Festival hours:

December 5:

5 – 6:30 p.m.

December 6:

5 – 7 p.m.

December 7:

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

December 8:

12 noon – 2 p.m.