By Sue Botos
Once again, part of the Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted has been transformed into a winter wonderland as Gingerbread Lane has set up shop near Santa and the mall’s other traditional Christmas displays.
This is the sixth season for Gingerbread Lane which is. sponsored by Welcome House. A dozen completely edible creations by local bakers feature a movie theme, in keeping with the construction of a new theater complex at the mall.
“We are grateful to Clevelanders for making Welcome House”s Gingerbread Lane part of their family’s holiday tradition,” commented Welcome House executive director Tony Thomas. The non-profit organization provides assistance for individuals with developmental disabilities.
“Great Northern offers us a great home to display the fine works of participating bakers. As visitors go to Gingerbread Lane, we hope that they will be reminded of the warm and welcoming atmosphere maintained in the family-style group homes and in-home assistance programs that Welcome House operates and our goal to help folks with developmental disabilities live well-balanced and satisfying lives,” added Thomas.
Previously, Gingerbread Lane had called Tower City in downtown Cleveland home, but Thomas said that the suburban location was chosen two years ago to make the display more accessible to Welcome House clients, many of whom live in group homes and supported living sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The dedicated staff of over 300 caregivers provide services to more than 150 individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities.
Welcome House clients are among the “flour arrangers” with homes on display. Also lending a hand are Becky Rink, The Better Occasions Shop, Bonbon Pastry & Cafe, Colozza’s Bakery, Fligners’ Market, Gingerbread Homes by Thibo/Nick Fumic, Gypsy Beans and Baking Company, Luna Bakery, Rito’s Italian Bakery, Sugar and Spice Bakery, and The Grateful Dog Bakery.
The sweet sites include a likeness of the Capitol Theater, movie concession stand goodies like popcorn and candy, and even a golden likeness of an Oscar. The Grateful Dog offers a puppy poking up through popcorn.
Thomas emphasized that the display is not a contest. “We want Gingerbread Lane to raise awareness to families, especially those with young children to be sensitive to people with developmental disabilities. Gingerbread lane represents all of the good things that occur in Welcome House residences,” he stated.
Gingerbread Lane will run through Dec. 27 and is located in front of the J.C. Penny main mall entrance. The homes are available for purchase for $250 each. For further information, contact Welcome House at 440-356-2330.