Creating and auctioning-off art made in the medium of flour, brown sugar, butter and ginger is a fairly unique way to raise money for good causes. But it is exactly what will happen this weekend at Hotel Aiken.
This weekend, the downtown landmark will play host to the Aiken Gingerbread Barns. The event gathers toys for the Marine Reserve's Toys for Tots program and money for local equine charities.
“Anybody who loves horses, stables and barns should come out,” event organizer Randy Russell said. “It's a perfect fit for Aiken. We ask everybody to bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots as admission.”
The event will showcase large 30-by-36-inch gingerbread barns made by local chefs.
“It is amazing what these pastry chefs can do. Jason Tufts, head chef at the Green Boundary, he's made a barn,” Russell said. “He won't show me what he is doing, but he said it's going to be great.”
The event is open to the public with an admission price of one unwrapped toy. Things will be set up and open at 4 p.m. on Friday and continue until 10 p.m. On Saturday, the event will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with Christmas carolers performing each evening at 6 p.m.
As well as the professional offerings, five barns created by members of the Aiken County Pony Clubs will be on show.
Russell was inspired to host the event after seeing a similar display at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Palm Springs, Fla.
The houses will be sold by silent auction, with the proceeds being split by Aiken Equine Rescue, Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, Aiken Pony Club and the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.