Houses, snowmen, Christmas trees and trains are among the more than 100 gingerbread creations on display at the Mormon Trail Center in Omaha and the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs.
The display at the Trail Center, 3215 State St., is in its 27th year and is open through Dec. 29. The Council Bluffs exhibit, at 222 East Broadway, will remain open through Dec. 31. Both are open to the public free of charge.
The gingerbread creations are made by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the community.
The festival began as a way to involve church members and the community, said Bree Arnold, an LDS missionary.
“It's something fun that invites the whole holiday spirit,” she said.
For Myrna Legate, the display is a family tradition. She started taking her children to the event 26 years ago. Now a new member of the church, Legate made a gingerbread house this year for the first time.
Next year she wants to include her daughters and granddaughter in the undertaking. She already has an idea of what to build and has begun collecting candy and decorations.
“I'm already planning for next year,” Legate said. “It's a challenge to do better.”
Building houses or other things out of gingerbread isn't for everyone.
Shirley Joslyn, also a member of the church, once set out to build a replica of the log cabin in which her ancestors lived when they settled in Nebraska in 1882.
“It had a thatched roof, a fence and even chickens,” Joslyn said.
One night, after finishing that day's work on the cabin, Joslyn placed it on the kitchen table and went to bed. When her husband came home from work, he found that the family dog had eaten half the cabin.
That was the end of Joslyn's gingerbread construction. Since then she has stuck to viewing the displays.
Diane Metz visited the Mormon Trail Center for the first time Sunday, attending with her husband and mother-in-law.
“I just love it,” Metz said. “Thinking of all the work that goes into this, it's terrific.”
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