The Willcox hosts a spicy holiday fundraiser for equine charities this weekend in cooperation with Polo America.Polo America has enlisted local pastry chefs to create replicas of Aiken horse barns in gingerbread for a silent auction to benefit Toys For Tots, the Aiken County Polo Club, Equine Rescue, STAR Riding Academy and the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. The gingerbread barns will be on display from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at The Willcox, located at 100 Colleton Ave. The silent auction will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday evening; admission to the auction is a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots."The chefs loved it; it's so unique. We had great participation," said Polo America President Randy Russell. "I've seen gingerbread houses done in other cities - the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Springs used to do it - and with the horse community in Aiken, I thought it would be ideal to change it up and do gingerbread barns."The event features gingerbread barns by Milisa Godson of Desserves, Jason Tufts of the Green Boundary Club, Karie and Shawn Raphael of An Eventful Year, Chris Smith from Just Tango Steakhouse, John MacDonald of Woodside Plantation Country Club, Edward Deflice and Ian McDonald of The Willcox, Aiken Regional Medical Centers' dietitians, and Louise Mellon.This is the first year Polo America has done this fundraiser, and shares sponsorship with The Willcox, Budweiser and the Aiken Standard. There will be a competition among the participating chefs for a most creative award. The winner will receive a two-night stay at The Willcox and their gingerbread barn will be featured in the promotional material for next year's contest."The chefs have been working on these barns for at least a month. They're not small barns; the bases we gave them are 33 by 48 inches," Russell said.For more information about the fundraiser, call Polo America at 652-1181.Suzanne Stone is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard. Contact Suzanne Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter at #SuzanneRStone and on Facebook at Suzanne Stone | Aiken Standard.
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